Westport Temporary Accommodation Area at Alma Rd

Q. What is TAS?
A. The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) supplies rental housing for people displaced due to natural disasters such as flooding and earthquakes. The service is designed to provide accommodation for people while they work with insurance and repairers to either get their homes to a stage where they can move back in, or relocate and build new.

Q. Why is TAS needed in Westport?
A. The heavy rain event in July 2021 resulted in flooding that affected 25 percent of houses. 71 homes were red-stickered, and almost 400 were yellow-stickered

TAS was deployed two weeks after the event.

With a shortage of rental properties in Westport, and delays to rebuilding homes due to insurance and capacity, many TAS clients are in need of long- term accommodation until their permanent housing is settled. This need has increased due to two recent flooding events in February 2022.

Q. What is the Temporary accommodation area at Alma Rd?
A. Subject to the resource consent process, TAS is looking to build a 22-house temporary accommodation area to continue supporting affected residents while they wait for their rebuilds. The reasoning for this is:

  • The ongoing demand for housing following this incident,
  • A shortage of rental accommodation in the town,
  • The ongoing risk of flooding,
  • The Buller District (BDC) has a small rating base, so cannot undertake such a project.

Q. Why Alma Rd?
A. TAS investigated several possible sites for Westport for the Temporary accommodation area.  Taking into consideration a number of factor (most notably speed to implement) the Alma Road site south of the township was selected.   Time is of the essence with this development.  The houses will be prefabricated and transported to the site.  As the site is council-owned, TAS does not have to purchase land for the project.

Temporary Accommodation Area Construction

Q. What is the process for building the Temporary Accommodation Area?
A. The Alma Road project has 3 workstreams:

  1. Extension of sewer and water up Alma Road to the development site;
  2. Installation of Road and infrastructure within the site; and Off-site construction of houses and installation on site when on site infrastructure installed (Resource consent application lodged).

Q. What will the houses look like?
A. MBIE is working with housing companies to build simple single story 2 and 3 bedroom houses off site and transport them to site and connect them to piles and services. Once contracts have been signed examples of the houses proposed will be uploaded to the website. The houses are being built on piles so they remain relocatable.

Q. How long will the Temporary Accommodation Area last for?
A. The resource consent application lodged by the Ministry is for 10 years. From Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) previous learnings, in other disaster responses, accommodation needs often have a ’long tail’. The intention is to ensure that the temporary accommodation area has an appropriate level of time to enable affected residents to have stability, while working through insurance, future insurability and to consider their long-term options. The resource consent application is for temporary accommodation. Any future change of use will require an additional resource consent application.

In Canterbury, the earthquake recovery housing built on parks and reserves was ultimately sold for removal. Buyers included first home buyers, community housing providers, commercial buyers and farmers and other residents impacted by the Kaikoura earthquakes.

In the Kaikoura township MBIE developed a temporary porta-cabin area on council land that was used as temporary accommodation before being used by council as community housing. That was done at the request of Kaikoura District Council. Buller District Council has indicated in its Long Term Plan that it has no role in providing social housing but wishes to continue to provide pensioner housing.

Kainga Ora has published a national plan for social and transitional housing from 2021-2024. Kainga Ora has indicated the only new social housing proposed for the West Coast is in Greymouth.

Q. What will happen to the housing post flood relief?
A. This is currently undecided, the focus to date has been on providing this service for displaced residents.

In past responses MBIE has sold temporary houses for removal and this has included selling homes to people affected by earthquakes, to commercial entities, and to social housing providers, for relocation to their own sites.  Other houses have been offered to first home buyers to purchase.

Current and Future use of Housing

Q. Will intensification of the Alma Road area impact its amenity value?
A. As it stands the Temporary Accommodation Area is on a single property title. The resource consent application is to have 22 houses on the one title. The site is 7Ha with approximately 3.5 Ha proposed for development.

Council has asked MBIE to provide more information about the protection of amenity values. The project team has engaged a Landscape Architect to provide a landscape assessment.

The team is also talking to a local ecologist, and taking advice from neighbours about suitable planting of the site and maintenance of the native bush along the riparian margin alongside the creek.  This additional information will be included in the consent application.

Q. How (and who) decides which people move into housing?
A. This is a process run in conjunction with the community hub Navigators and MBIE based on need.

Q. Residents noted that future use as a retirement village would be advantageous
A. The project team has noted this and will factor this idea into discussion about future use, noting that currently no decisions have been made. Decisions will also need to take into account Council’s long term plan and strategies and future zoning decisions.

Roading and Safety

Q. Does the MBIE fund allow for roading and safety enhancements? Several residents noted concerns in this respect – Pedestrian/cycle safety concerns.
A. After community discussions the project team is now looking at options to create a cycle/walkway which will run from the Temporary Accommodation Area to the State Highway intersection.

This will be included in an amended design.

Q. One way bridge, intersection, and speed concerns
A. Although there are options in the Infrastructure Acceleration Fund (IAF) for enhancement of the roading, cycle and pedestrian infrastructure for Alma road, the budget from MBIE for the Temporary Accommodation Area cannot accommodate all enhancements desired. However pending updates on the IAF application BDC will continue to engage with residents on solutions.


Q. Is there information available for those who may missed out to date?
A. The project team will be working on the communications and engagement for the project. This is an ongoing and iterative conversation. The team will continue with newsletters fortnightly, direct email communication, meetings with any residents with concerns, site visits and signage.

Q. What happens if occupancy / demand does not match what has been modelled?
A. Indications from regular discussions with households registered by TAS indicate that there will still be significant demand for accommodation in October 2022 (the target time to have houses on site).

Q. Does the sewerage treatment plant and water supply have the capacity to service the additional housing proposed?
A. Yes. Modelling indicates that this is practical to achieve, and this will be confirmed again during the design phase.

Q. Can the quarry continue to operate and contribute needed revenue to Council.
A. Yes, provisions are in place for the continued operation of the quarry and tenants of the village will be required to acknowledge the presence of the quarry to avoid reverse sensitivity issues.