SHA site

Developer: Support for Hawea subdivision overshadowed by opposers

  • by Eileen Goodwin :
  • Jun 3,2018

“Hard core” opponents will be tough to persuade, says Wanaka developer Lane Hocking, but he claims most people support his push for a 400-section subdivision in Lake Hawea.

Hocking wants to obtain Special Housing Area (SHA) status to fast-track the project, on 32ha of land south of Cemetery Rd.

Hocking is keen to allay public concern and recently slashed the number of proposed sections from 1000 to 400, citing community feedback.

But the move stoked cynicism among critics, some of whom believe it’s a way to make the final proposal seem palatable.

Lane Hocking headshot MR

Lane Hocking: assurances his proposed development won't be a dormitory suburb of Wanaka.

He denies that, telling Crux: ”We’re not there to play games”.

Asked about the biggest obstacle, Hocking says it’s dealing with “naysayers’” and the “hard core” rather than any logistical issue.

He rejects a suggestion he’s creating a dormitory suburb for Wanaka, saying he’s trying to help first-time buyers locked out of the market. The housing and land packages will be priced up to $550,000, meeting the price cap for accessing Kiwisaver entitlements.

The price tag represents a market rate, and no subsidies are involved, he says.

‘’This is a major opportunity for people to secure their future.’’

He says a majority of the wider district is on-side because of the housing crisis.

And even in Lake Hawea itself, it’s possible most people back it but are overshadowed by the ‘’vocal element”, he says.

The Keep Hawea Beautiful movement has written an opinion piece for Crux this week blaming financial speculation for the area’s housing shortfall. You can read the column here. The Hawea Community Association is also opposed to the development.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council will consider Hocking’s proposal, lodged by his company Universal Developments Hawea Ltd, on June 28.

It’s possible councillors will make a decision that day on its recommendation to Housing Minister Phil Twyford, who has the final say. The council may also reserve its decision or seek more information.

Mayor Jim Boult tells Crux he’s “ambivalent” and will consider any reasonable proposal that promises to alleviate the housing crisis.

Jim Boult MR

Jim Boult: Looking forward to debating whether the QLDC should support the subdivision.

He says critics need to remember it’s a “free world” and Hocking has the right for his project to be considered for SHA status. That doesn’t mean it will get the go-ahead, and local opposition will be factored into the decision. Boult says he’s looking forward to the debate.

Asked if he’s concerned developers might build substandard houses in order to market them as affordable, Boult says it’s not possible as the council runs a rigorous inspection regime.

“Council is absolutely fixated on ensuring nothing that gets built could ever become a leaky building again.”

He says the area’s SHA status has been successfully applied in the district and it’s doing its bit to alleviate the crisis.  

But Wanaka Community Board member Rachel Brown says Hocking’s proposal is a “giant leap” from previous SHA proposals for urban development in Wanaka and Queenstown.

She believes the SHA is not the appropriate tool for the rurally-zoned Lake Hawea land.

Rachel Brown headshot

Rachel Brown: Inevitable the subdivision will become a dormitory suburb of Wanaka.

She says, if it goes ahead, Hocking’s project will inevitably be a dormitory suburb and she says it’s not the modern and innovative worker accommodation the district needs.

“We have a district plan for a reason,” she says, adding the SHA concept was developed with land-constrained places like Auckland in mind.

She blames financial speculation for the housing crisis and says there is plenty of land suitable for development, but investors are sitting on it waiting for the price to increase.

However, Brown believes Hocking’s heart is in the right place.

“He’s a nice guy. He does believe he’s got a good development and he’s going to do it nicely…but I would be more comfortable if it was by the usual process.”

Feedback on the proposal opened on May 23 and closes on June 21.

 

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Comments

  • Zella Downing : 11/06/2018 9:49pm (6 months ago)

    The headline of this article reveals a great deal about the debate arena where these issues are discussed. "Support for the Hawea subdivision overshadowed by opposers"

    [1] If support for using the SHA to fast-track this sub-division is being overshadowed, there may be more opposition than support. Hocking's comment that his biggest obstacle is "dealing with 'naysayers’ and the 'hard core'" shows that he's failing to understand the core principles of democracy. He's trying to use legislation not designed for his type of proposal to get what he wants and turn a profit, that's human enough, but the great thing about a free society is that other people can disagree, and that’s a good thing.

    [2] There is evidence of opposition to Hocking’s proposal, but where is the evidence of support? Hosking states that, “It’s possible most people back it.” It’s equally possible that most people don’t.” The simple fact is, most people are probably too consumed with the day-to-day of paying the bills to invest much notice. They very probably trust the democratic process, which Hosking is trying to out-manoeuvre through his Expression of Interest in using the SHA. Hawea is not listed in the SHA approved area of this district. If there’s so much support, why’s he’s interested in accessing legislation that removes all community consultation?

    [3] The Hawea community supports sustainable, sensible, smart-thinking practice and ideals that serve all areas and people. We support the Upper Clutha's rural heritage and outstanding landscape. We oppose hasty developments that side-step the normal protocols of the RMA. We oppose the silencing of community consultation. Classifying the community members who speak out in defence of their homes, their beliefs and their futures as “opposers” is as inaccurate as it is disparaging.

    Logistical issues like roading, traffic, public transportation, water, sewage, waste management, energy, jobs and health care for the newly arrived, as well as loss of rural heritage, loss of ecological balance are not obstacles to Hocking because he's not interested in them, but they are of interest to the existing community. They are the reason we oppose the use of the SHA to steamroll one man's profit-driven plan to rapidly urbanise 32ha of rural Hawea land.

    The RMA is a tool to ensure that development doesn't do more harm than good. Using the SHA to tip-toe past the community consultation phase of the RMA does not honour the concept of the common good.

    The headline places favour on the developer and disrespects those who have exposed the serious flaws in Hocking’s subdivision plan. I wonder where Jim Boult and the QLDC stand. I wonder what vision they support, cutting corners or honouring the democratic process.

  • Jay Oftheland : 08/06/2018 7:12pm (6 months ago)

    I am against this proposal. Firstly because Hawea is not part of the SHA and was never even thought of as part of it at any time as far as I know. This is a land grab and a profit driven initiative that does not solve the affordable housing problem. Of the 10% so called affordable houses they will still be too expensive. The land is not zoned for residential. We as residents dont want this. No one ive spoken to wants this. Is the QLDC the public servant of the citizens of Hawea or are you working for corporate interests? What are the conflicts of interest and relationship of Jim Boult to Lane Hawking? This whole thing stinks quite frankly. Also Ive heard that the UN feels that the SHA policy is illegal and contravenes basic human rights and is racist. So in a nutshell.. no I dont support this proposal in the slightest. Thank you for your time. I think its also fair to say that we as a group of residents in the hawea region (that i dont speak for) will not take this lying down. And we will not take a yes decision as acceptable. The policy is illegal and poorly executed. Its ending this year and Lane is trying his best to get this through before then. Not impressed.

  • Jennifer Rumore : 07/06/2018 5:19pm (6 months ago)

    One of the great tragedies of Special Housing Area legislation for local communities is the annihilation of community will and empowerment to shape its own dynamics. The United Nations has deemed SHA legislation use as anti-democratic and racist, and declared it should NOT be used. It bulldozes the capacities of residents to shape their communities.

    Overall the mayor wants 1,000 affordable houses. At a 1 to 10 ratio, which is what all development (SHA or otherwise) standards use, this means 10,000 houses need to be created. Ladies Mile Special Housing Area has provisioned for approximately 4,000 homes. Within Wakatipu there is very little land left for this level and scale of development. There is a very real possibility that approximately 6,000 houses will be built at Hawea to make up the shortfall, as this is the only area aside from the outskirts of Luggate that falls outside of outstanding natural landscape zone that inhibits the development of this scale.

    In the case of Lane Hocking's Universal Developments Hawea Ltd application to QLDC, the clear Hawea Community Plan boundary of Cemetery Road as a line of demarcation is destroyed. This is repeatedly ignored in the touting of the benefits of the development plan and in Mayor Boult and QLDC addressing of this issue.

    Further, the community's opposition is far from a small vocal element. With approximately 500 letterboxes registered for Hawea, nearly 500 signatures on the declaration against this proposal is significant.

    In fact, I have yet to receive word from any fellow Hawea resident in favour of a development approved across the Cemetery Road line using SHA as a method--especially when there is ample inventory for housing to be built within the existing approved Hawea infill area.

    It is sad and shocking to me that Mayor Boult and QLDC are ignoring this fact, as well, relegating it to "informal input." Also, it is a falsehood that Hawea is listed in the SHA approved area of this district. Special Housing Areas are not zoned by QLDC Lead Policy for Hawea at all. They are only applicable in the Queenstown township zone, the Wanaka township zone, and the Ladies Mile township zone, and that is it. If this is changed it demonstrates blatant bias by QLDC for this submission and shows a corrupt agenda by favouring Universal Developments or Universal Developments Hawea.

    This is not really about affordable housing. For a start, international standards for affordable housing are 3-5 times minimum wage, which puts true affordability for this area at approximately maximum $250,000. Minimim wage earners are part of this market, so how do we come up with $550,000 as market value for affordable housing? Have I mentioned that only 100 homes in 1,000 would even hit the $550,000? I know more than 100 people in need of an affordable home personally. This is no panacea.

    And what about existing residents on the land illegally proposed to be developed? Falcons, hawks, little owls, skinks, and other dry land protected species have habitat on this land. There is no audit on ecology and no audit from the farming community supporting the claim this land is agriculturally unproductive in the expression of interest.

    Setting ALL that aside, there is also an issue around proposed section size. The Hawea Community Plan declares minimum section sizes at 800 square meters. Alan Dippie has been declined numerous times on this point, yet the SHA proposed development plan includes 550 square meter (or less) sections.

    On the whole, I agree 100% with Rachel Brown that this development plan must be submitted via the normal process required by QLDC for any development, honouring the Hawea Community Plan and the District Plan.

  • carmen howell : 06/06/2018 8:38am (6 months ago)

    Lane is attempting to marginalise the Hawea community by referring to valid and justified opposition as naysaying. There are approx 500 signatures on a petition from our small community that do not consent to his expression of interest.

    The fact is we are an informed community that does not want this type of rapid urbanisation through his choice to precede with unlawful and antidemocratic special housing area policy, as recognised by the United Nations and has recommended the government stop this legislation. Our community is not against growth we are against the type of growth that is being expressed by Lane, that is at odds with the community and stifles formal community consultation. Is this fair?

    We are yet to see evidence to support his claims.

  • hikuwai drifter : 05/06/2018 9:06pm (6 months ago)

    This article reads like a council and property developer dictatorship over the values and will of the people of the Hawea. It is unfortunate that Lane has resorted to attacking the community sentiment in which opposes his special housing area, rather than providing actual supporting evidence to his claims.
    It is equally concerning that the Hawea community's valid concerns, which have beens well sumed up in the linked article, have not been addressed, by the Mayor and council, with the exception of Rachel Brown. The mayor addressing off topic leaky homes when the community has grave concerns about democratic process and unlawful legislation is inappropriate.

    While leveraging the sentiment of "affordability". Could Lane please give the projections of how much profit he stands to gain from creating "affordable" houses using special housing area policy in Hawea?