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$24 MILLION INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING FOR HOUSING

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April, 2019

A $24 million pot of infrastructure funding could disappear into thin air
if housing developments arent approved for Ladies Mile.
The clock is ticking for the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which would
provide millions of dollars in interest-free loans to the council to
support major infrastructure pro-jects at Ladies Mile.
Those infrastructure projects would include moves to ease traffic
congestion, a constant bugbear for Queenstown commuters.
But the money hinges on housing developments being green-lit in the
area, and if none are approved by mid-to-late next year, it will be
withdrawn.
Three Ladies Mile housing proposals will be canvassed at this months
council meeting, all of which have sparked an outcry from Lake Hayes
Estate and Shotover Country residents.
Council property and infrastructure chief engineer Ulrich Glasner says
the loan and funding agreement signed last year will be cancelled if no
development is approved within two years.
The fund was announced by Housing Minister Phil Twyford last August.
It was expected to bring forward the development of about 1100 houses
within six years.
Glasner says some of the funding would be pegged for transport
infrastructure improvements, including a roundabout at Howards Drive,
an underpass to get from the northern side of Ladies Mile to the
southern side, and bus stops.
If the funding disappears, those projects would have to go through other
funding bids with NZTA and the regional council, he says.
If council would agree to a special housing area (SHA), it would be a
minimum of 24-30 months until the first house is built, which would give
us time to make some increased public transport, a direct bus lane from
Ladies Mile to town, and education.
The three proposed SHAs along Ladies Mile up for discussion today are
423 units across two adjacent SHAs on the northern side, and the Laurel
Hills development, a decision on which was deferred from the last
council meeting.
Submissions on the Ladies Mile developments were made public this
week.
More than 170 were received by the council, almost all of which were
overwhelmingly opposed to the developments.
Council staff prepared a report for councillors on the cumulative effects
of the three developments, with a major focus on traffic and transport.
It reveals a range of projects are in the works, including a direct bus
service from Ladies Mile to the CBD, a Ladies Mile park and ride, a
priority bus lane, and a preferred active travel network.
A Shotover Bridge bus gate is also being explored, which would involve
traffic lights to give priority to high-occupancy vehicles where lanes
merge.
If more dwellings were going to be built in Ladies Mile, then the above
initiatives would need to be in place before the houses are built, and
the demand on the traffic network begins to increase, the report
states.
Councillor Alexa Forbes says its not a matter of if development will
occur along Ladies Mile, but to what scale.
It will happen, theres no way it wont happen, she says.
Most of Queenstowns infrastructure has been just in time
infrastructure, which is not what people want, she says.
This is a way of doing things much faster.
While the Housing Infrastructure Fund was not free cash and has to be
paid back, it would be money up front to get projects moving before
development actually occurred, she says.
Forbes says theres huge pressure to get something done before the
clock runs out, both on the fund and on SHA legislation, which will wind
up in September.
Given more time, we might have been able to bring the community
along in a better way, but we dont have that, she says.

Source: Mountain Scene

 

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