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Community housing issues on agenda

Opinion Piece

On Thursday the New Zealand Shakeout is taking place. Shakeout is an international event designed to remind people to take the correct action during an earthquake and practise tsunami evacuation in coastal areas. At 9.30am on October 15th it is hoped Drop, Cover and Hold is encouraged to be come habitual. There is a focus on Long and Strong, get gone.

We should all have an evacuation plan locked and loaded, and a planned survival strategy which has been thought through and is understood by all the whanau. Everyone should have individual knowledge; we cannot know the circumstances of our future events. It is particularly important to use the opportunity to educate our younger community.

The Tairawhiti Arts festival has turned into an event not to be missed. It just goes from strength to strength, with the highest quality productions and events. So much of it has an absolutely authentic basis and relativity to our unique region. It is particularly inspiring to see the depth of awesome talent, especially our homegrown talent. They do themselves proud and represent Tairawhiti so well. Congratulations to all involved in what was a fantastic time.

You simply cannot pick up a paper or indulge in media forms at present without there being yet another article on the housing crisis. We sat back and watched the Auckland market balloon and then turned around and observed the same patterns seize hold of our local real estate. In economics 101 we are seeing the pricing trends driven by a supply and demand market. To my knowledge we are a very long way from meeting the demand. This issue is going to require more resource than any one entity can provide and it is taking a very concerted effort from many factions to address the supply:demand ratio.

On Thursday the council will be looking at the issues around community housing. Gisborne is on a growth trajectory. This is offering many opportunities to enable families to enjoy a family life, living where they want to, rather than the trend of families living apart through the lack of local employment options. My fear is that this beneficial growth could well be stymied by an inability to house our growing population.

I am looking forward to being part of the pool complex project and will be meeting on Thursday to get a project update. For me involvement in this project goes back almost two decades. I was losing hope. Now we have a clear path forward backed with the funding to deliver.

I am not at all surprised by criticism suggesting such funding could be well used in other specified high-need areas but the reality is that the funding was specific and could not be allocated to many of the other worthy causes. But a fantastic new pool complex is a worthy and important asset and as a frequent pool user, our pool offering was becoming more liability than asset. There was a very real risk that locals and visitors alike were going to be offered one less thing to do in Tairawhiti and I believe that would be counterproductive.

Somewhat diluted by the noise of the government election is the fact that we are also in the throes of a local by-election required due to Councillor Dunn's resignation. We have eight candidates for the one position. There is time to research the candidates. The voting documents will be posted on Wednesday, October 28th and voting closes at 12 midday on Thursday, November 18th.

Andy Cranston