Prior to the July 2021 flood Buller had an acknowledged accommodation shortage in both rental stock and houses to buy. There was also an anticipated need for further accommodation due to growth of employment opportunities in the Buller District.
In June 2021 the Buller District Council made applications to the Infrastructure Accelerator Fund (IAF), which is administered by Kaianga Ora, for five projects, and all got through the first stage for IAF funding. Alma Rd was one of the five proposals put forward.
The IAF was established by Government to enable housing growth for areas that need assistance or have unmet housing demand. The IAF does not provide for social housing.
The fund does not allow applications for infrastructure enhancement for existing areas, the applications must be for new housing, therefore the fund cannot be used as a flood response.
“To be very clear, the BDC IAF applications are not part of any form of a retreat conversation,” said BDC Chief Executive, Sharon Mason. “The applications made by the BDC for IAF funding were made in June 2021, before July’s flood event, to meet the growing demand for more housing in Buller.
“The IAF fund is about supporting infrastructure to enable development, so for Buller it is an opportunity to tap into much needed Government funding that will help us develop more resilient housing options for the Buller community. The IAF is simply about seeking funding to put in place infrastructure to help enable development to happen, at no cost to the ratepayer
“The IAF requires projects to proceed at pace, be able to provide at least 30 houses, and contributions from developers. Only projects that can meet these criteria are considered for applications – e.g. a private developer is already working on the project and it is at a stage where the information required for the application can be provided,” continued Ms Mason.
“Two of the five developers (O’Conor Home and Buller Rd, Reefton) have decided not to proceed any further in the selection process. Two developers have proceeded to the next IAF stage in BDC’s name (the IAF process prefers councils to be the applicants) and one proceeded in their own name, which required the ok from council to do so.
“These developments will all still have to go through the normal resource consent process for subdivision if they are to proceed.
“It is also important to point out that the IAF is an entirely different fund to the temporary accommodation area being developed by MBIE on Alma Rd. The 3 waters reform funding ($14M announced mid-July 2021) is also totally separate from the IAF, and is contingent on 3 waters reform proceeding.”
More information about the IAF is available at https://kaingaora.govt.nz/working-with-us/housing-acceleration-fund/infrastructure-acceleration-fund/.
Source: Buller District Council