QLDC adopts housing action plan, with no funding plan in place
Queenstown Lakes District Council's plan to improve housing affordability was adopted at yesterday’s meeting of full council, with elected members voting unanimously in support of the collaborative strategic document.
However, whether or not the document has any teeth will rely on the degree to which ratepayer money is prioritised for the actions it outlines.
A last-minute change to the motion in front of councillors saw "subject to funding" added to a directive to staff to "implement" the actions in the plan.
Also requested, a review schedule, to ensure councillors are kept in the loop of work undertaken by staff as outlined by the plan and how successful that work is.
A surprise to some councillors during the discussion, a new housing officer role has been created at the council, with the chosen employee due to start shortly.
Staff indicated that this role will seek to progress some of the actions in the plan that at this stage remain vague.
In a written statement after the meeting, Mayor Glyn Lewers says the Joint Housing Action Plan is a "cohesive approach toward housing in the district", with the council, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Kāinga Ora, Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust, Kāi Tahu and Otago Regional Council all providing input in its creation.
“Given the complexity of housing issues, and the district’s unique challenges, partnering with central government and the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust significantly widens what we’re capable of addressing."
Mr Lewers says he has witnessed a growing need for more affordable rentals and homes aimed at first-time buyers, and says the new plan will assist in delivering a range of housing options for low to moderate income households who live and work in the district.
The plan aims to increase the amount of affordable housing options in the district, using a range of mechanisms, including seeking to diversify housing stock using planning levers, exploring public-private partnerships, buying and developing land, focusing on creating more rental properties, and amplifying the work of the community housing trust.
Nine “solutions” are detailed in the plan, with most of them focused on the medium to long-term, which some local housing advocates, who have been calling for some quick fixes to help people without a home and living rough right now, have found frustrating.
During yesterday's discussion, feedback received during community consultation on the plan was provided to councillors by staff, who said, despite plenty of engagement effort, the lack of feedback had surprised them.
Just 36 respondents, mostly from the Queenstown area, took the chance to have their say, 42 percent supportive of the then draft plan, 29 percent opposed, and 29 percent neutral.
The respondents ranked the solutions in terms of priorities, with incentivising developers to provide affordable housing being the most important, focussing on rental solutions for the district’s workforce the second, and to further develop public and private partnerships to deliver affordable housing choices the third.