CONSTRUCTION of Gisborne’s first three-level, walk-up apartment block is set to start in the second quarter of 2021.
Crown agency Kainga Ora has marked 675 to 683 Gladstone Road as a block of land where 22 homes will be built to help ease the housing crisis in the Gisborne.
It will comprise 12 two-bedroom apartments on three levels, with 10 different-sized houses strategically dotted around the 5118 square-metre site — six three-bedroom houses, three four-bedroom houses and one six-bedroom house.
Kainga Ora is also working on another housing project in the London/Tyndall streets area.
“There will be 16 units all up, built on the two sites we cleared of tenants about a year ago,” Kainga Ora programme director Nick Seymour said.
Other Kainga Ora projects include two two-bedroom houses and two three-bedroom houses in Munro Street, Elgin.
And a three-bedroom house and four two-bedroom houses are to be built in Stout Street, Mangapapa.
“The existing remaining tenants on both sites will be relocated and sites ready for commencement of construction in early 2021,” Mr Seymour said.
Kainga Ora has been door-knocking in the Te Hapara area over the last week as the Gladstone Road build will affect tenants and neighbours.
Across all the sites in progress, eight homes will be removed.
The eight houses will be offered to mana whenua as priority. If no interest from mama whenua thereafter offered to a private relocator.
If no interest the houses will be deconstructed for re use of materials. If beyond use, the houses may be demolished as a last resort.
“Existing tenants will be offered alternative homes in accordance with Tenancy Services processes, but working collaboratively with each tenant, ensuring whanau connections retain high priority.”
“The reason behind starting in the second quarter of 2021 is so we can socialise the scale of this build.
“Three level walk-ins have not been built by Kainga Ora in many regions outside of metropolitan areas,” Mr Seymour said.
The Gladstone Road project will face the roadside and entrances will be on the sides going into a community space.
Two Gisborne companies will work on the projects. Mr Seymour cannot yet say who they are.
“Our focus is that we aren’t just building homes, we are building communities and creating opportunities.
“A big part of it is to encourage local people to deal with local problems with local solutions.
“We are trying to create a community rather than just a set of homes . . . ensuring the people we put in there gel, integrate and get to know each other and become a community on their own.
“Kainga Ora has been providing information to the community, Gisborne District Council and Manaaki Tairawhiti to help socialise what we are going to do and what types of tenants it is for.
“By late 2021, early 2022, we would have delivered 85 new homes.”
Mr Seymour said that did not seem like a lot “but it’s only a drop in the ocean about what is coming subject to the Public Housing Plan being released to us, which could be any time from the end of the year to early next year”.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg for Gisborne. There’s still a lot to do.
“New project briefs will be developed over the next months as we look to address the housing shortages across New Zealand, including Gisborne. So there is more to come on top of the current 85.”
Mr Seymour said some homes were too big for some families so they might decide to downsize.
There are 484 on the waiting list. In June 2019 there were 235. Current housing stock in the region for the end of September was 1257, an increase of eight homes.
There were no plans for builds along the East Coast or in Wairoa.
To further boost housing stock, Mr Seymour said Kainga Ora would buy some houses locally from private developers over the next year to 18 months. “But we have to be careful and considerate before we buy anything off developers in the region. We don’t want to be fuelling the pricing for housing.”
Mr Seymour paid tribute to Gisborne District Council as “a very forward-thinking council which has helped the process”.
“They have been fantastic, they have been challenging us and they are responsive. That’s something we don’t often see.”
An open night is to be held for the community to view design plans for the Gladstone Road project.