Council seeks government funding to extend at Hukutaia
With the Ōpōtiki district facing an unprecedented housing crisis, Ōpōtiki District Council is seeking central government funding to assist with the extension of water, wastewater and stormwater services and roading for the future development of Hukutaia.
Ōpōtiki Mayor, Lyn Riesterer, said that it was a way for Council to help open up new areas for development and make it a sustainable solution for more housing, at scale.
“We know that the housing shortage is putting increasing pressure on families and those most in need. And we have been working for several years on short term and longer term solutions to try and get more houses built for current residents and those who we are already seeing return home or move to the area for the wide range of new opportunities like the new harbour, mussel factory and marina projects all coming online.
“Hukutaia has long been a preferred option – we have consulted on it through several LTPs [Long Term Plans] and the opportunity to apply for this funding allows us to start work on that vision without weighing heavily on rates for local ratepayers,” Mayor Riesterer said.
Last week, Council submitted their application for the Infrastructure Acceleration Fund (IAF) – part of the $3.8billion funding package from central government that is targeted to help build infrastructure to unlock new areas and increase housing supply.
The application compares other areas of Ōpōtiki where housing could be extended, but Hukutaia scored highest on all factors including proximity to town services, location above flooding and sea level rise risks projected in the next 100 years, existing services, opportunities for a wide range of affordable housing opportunities and housing development at significant scale (rather than infill housing in the town itself).
“Council has applied for this funding on behalf of the community, as we have done for other central government funding opportunities like the town centre upgrade or the footpaths.
“As part of this business case, we have prepared a high-level plan to outline how Hukutaia could be developed over the next 50 years. This is just an initial concept and it doesn’t bind us to anything or commit us to a specific path. But it is a really useful explanation of how we can extend in Hukutaia in a long-term way to ensure that housing can keep up with demand.
“We are looking to share a one-page explanation with anyone interested and hope to post it to Hukutaia residents specifically (although with current lockdown restrictions it may take some time to appear in letterboxes).
“The plan also focusses on allowing landowners to make their own decisions about subdivision or when or whether to hook up to sewer mains along with some funding that may help with that. It works to ensure there is a range of options from affordable housing or smaller units, to larger and more expensive options,” Mayor Riesterer said.
The Mayor said that council staff had had some early conversations with several landowners who had indicated they were keen to progress development which gave the project clearer direction and confidence.
“We know that there is a lot of talk about and quite a lot of things people will want to discuss or questions to ask.
“We’d like to have a community meeting perhaps somewhere like the Golf Club and talk through some of these things and hopefully we’ll have a clearer picture of national alert levels over the coming days so we can set that date and share the details. While we wait for the outcome of our application, it is a good opportunity to discuss ideas and solutions that lead to change and opportunity for the district.
“We’ll also have contact-free options for feedback and people are still welcome to contact their councillors or visit the council webpage for more information,” Mayor Riesterer said.
View a copy of the Letter to landowners in Hukutaia from the Mayor PDF 60KB
Download a copy of the Hukutaia: Housing our current and future residents one page summary PDF 368KB or view a copy below.
View our Hukutaia FAQs.