FURTHER units like the one Willy Storer lives in at Rangimarie Flats planned for King Street are awaiting a green light from Opotiki District Council. Mr Storer, on his unit’s steps, is flanked by property manager Lloyd Hosken (left) and Rangimarie Trust chairman Don Murray.
APPROVAL of plans for further low-cost social housing on a 1000-square-metre section in King Street could be given the go-ahead any day.
That is according to Rangimarie Trust chairman Don Murray, who believes Opotiki District Council will approve the trust’s plans for the four new $90,000 one-bedroom modern units on the section.
Mr Murray said the trust needed to go through the resource consent process with the council.
This required a planner, which the trust needed to hire separately, to submit a plan of the proposal to the council. Mr Murray said this had been done and “should be approved any day now”.
The Rangimarie Trust brought the land the houses are proposed to be built on in King Street 18 months ago.
Working to a budget of $90,000, University of Auckland students Wendy Zheng, and Juno Huang designed the units for the King Street development. Their design features include access ramps and wider doors to accommodate wheelchair users, solar heating and raised floors to prevent flooding.
They had also produced a design sensitive to the church next door, and which added to the values of Opotiki’s townscape.
Mr Murray said an architect and draftsperson would take the students’ plans – chosen from dozens of submissions – and the units’ actual design and specifications would start in the next few weeks.
He said construction on the section at King Street would likely begin in the next six months, if the council approved plans.
Asked if there was a pressing need for further low-cost social housing in Opotiki, Mr Murray said from what he had heard there were houses available, but a lot of landlords were not keen on some of the tenants wanting to be housed.
The trust, though, was more focused on providing housing to either older members of the community on low incomes, or to those affected by disability. It aimed to provide them secure, long-term accommodation.
The registered charitable trust aimed to provide value to those people needing assistance in Opotiki in ways neither public nor private housing could, he said.
“It’s exciting for Opotiki because you don’t see many new houses in town,” Mr Murray said of the King Street project. He said those needing one of the new units would be able to apply as the need arises.
The trust has successfully run and operated Rangimarie Flats at 127 Richard Street since 1979, where its tenants, usually low-income, single and older super-annuitants, pay a rental set at 80 percent of the market rate.
There is a mix of one- and two-bedroom units at Rangimarie Flats that are currently all occupied and have been for some time. There is a village-type atmosphere, Mr Murray said. He and property manager Lloyd Hosken describe the tenants as content in what is a stable and happy family environment.
One of those tenants is Willy Storer, who has been in his unit at Rangimarie Flats for 27 years. He saw the development at King Street as an opportunity for someone else to also find an affordable home. His unit and the one in front were the first to be built at the Richard Street housing complex. He said none of the tenants there could complain about their rent.