The Whakatāne District Council and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment are jointly funding the development of a Relocatable House Park at the Whakatāne Domain Holiday Park.
This $1.55 million initiative will help meet the pressing short-to-medium term accommodation needs of people displaced from their homes in last month’s major flooding events in the Whakatāne District. In the longer term, the relocatable houses constructed will be retained to provide additional accommodation for the area’s growing tourism industry.
Mayor Tony Bonne says the Council will contribute $850,000 toward the cost of purchasing and installing 10 self-contained, Portacabin homes for the first stage of the relocatable house park, while MBIE will contribute a total of $700,000 for infrastructure and associated costs for up to 20 relocatable units.
“Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith has acted decisively to ensure that this joint venture project is put in place as quickly as possible, so that we can ensure that people displaced from flood-damaged houses will have access to good quality, temporary accommodation while their homes are replaced or repaired,” he says. “That’s hugely encouraging news for flood-affected communities like Edgecumbe and also for our District economy, because the relocatable house park created will be available in the future to cater for the growing tourism accommodation demand in Whakatāne.”
Mayor Bonne says an extraordinary meeting of the Council on 18 May approved recommendations that the south-eastern section of the Holiday Park be allocated for use as a Relocatable House Park; and that temporary residents be allowed to stay in the units beyond the four-week, summer season limit set-out in legislation. The Council also agreed to loan-fund the purchase of the self-contained, relocatable units required.
“Taking into account depreciation and debt servicing costs over the next 10 years and the expected offset of rental income, the total financial impact on ratepayers is expected to be less than $35,000,” Mayor Bonne adds. “That equates to an annual rate increase across the District of just 0.08% and given the short and long-term benefits this will deliver for our communities, it truly is a ‘no-brainer’.”
Subject to resource and building consents being issued for the project, construction is expected to begin by the end of June. The resource consent process will be conducted by an independent commissioner. Council elected members and staff will communicate directly with the owners of nearby properties, to ensure they are aware of the planned development and its use in the short- and long-term. That communication will emphasise that the units will not be available for any long-term residential purposes once the District’s temporary accommodation needs have been met.