Habitat wins tender

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(From left) Margaret Cook, of Southland Community Housing Group, Southland Housing Action Forum chairman Shaun Drylie, Habitat for Humanity Invercargill general manager Paul Searancke and Invercargill City Council chief executive Clare Hadley at the Kew Bowl site. Photo: Supplied

HABITAT for Humanity Invercargill is the new owner of the Kew Bowl site after its tender was accepted by the Invercargill City Council.

“We are very excited for the potential this site has to make a difference in such a tight housing climate,” Habitat for Humanity Invercargill general manager Paul Searancke said.

“A community consultation process will begin at the end of June and run for two months to ensure the needs of the wider community are met.”

Earlier this year the Invercargill City Council (ICC) sought expressions of interest from parties interested in buying the former Kew Bowl site.

The site, zoned residential, is about 1.6ha on the east side of Elles Rd between Scott and McQuarrie Sts.

Southland Housing Action Forum (SHAF) submitted an expression of interest and was asked to then tender for the property. As SHAF was a community initiative rather than a legally recognised entity, Habitat for Humanity submitted a tender instead, which had been accepted.

Mr Searancke said the intention was to build an affordable, mixed-use housing development on the site, providing a range of housing for seniors to young families to help combat widespread housing shortages in the city.

It would be made up of public housing, some first homebuyer homes, some secure tenure rentals and for market sale homes, from a range of developers.

It was hoped stage one of the development would start in summer.

Mr Searancke said a partnership including the ICC, community housing providers, social housing providers and developers would ensure the best interests of the Invercargill community would be looked after.

SHAF chairman Shaun Drylie said he was delighted the forum had been able to facilitate a major achievement within its first 12 months.

“It just shows that with community collaboration led by a strong, social-minded organisation like Habitat for Humanity, we can achieve great things,” he said.

SHAF comprised of representatives from central and local government, Southland Chamber of Commerce, Southland Community Housing Group, community funders and leaders, all with a social and community conscience which supported the future supply of quality housing in Invercargill, he said.

Mr Drylie acknowledged the vision of ICC, and for walking the talk after passing a resolution in January to be more of an enabler of housing recognising the extent of issues facing the city.

ICC chief executive Clare Hadley said there had been a clear desire from elected members to support and enable social/affordable housing providers.

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