Despite the cyclone damage suffered throughout the North Island, work has been taking place around the elder housing units on Heron Crescent, Katikati. These works were the first step in the process to redevelop the elder housing village which is now over 40-years-old. When finished, the project led by Western Bay of Plenty District Council will see the existing 11 units replaced with a set of new modern units, with final designs to be decided by your elected members.
The project is the second elder housing development in Katikati recently, with tenants moving into the seven new units built at Beach Road earlier this year.
While final plans for Heron Crescent, including the number of units to be built, are still to be considered and approved by elected members, Council is keen to begin initial earthworks so that we can see elder housing tenants settled in the new units as soon as possible.
Initial site preparation earthworks were to begin in February and included removing existing units, building a new retaining wall between the site and Diggelmann Park, remedying drainage issues and building preparation.
The majority of funding for the Heron Crescent project comes from $5.34 million of the Government’s “Better Off” funding allocated via the Three Waters Reform Package, approved in late 2022.
Council CEO, John Holyoake says with the rohe becoming more popular and the cost of living continuing to rise, there was growing pressure on homeowners and renters to meet rising housing costs.
But Council can help, and with Government funding and a rent increase, it comes at no cost to rate payers.
“Affordable housing for older people is a key area of concern in our District – need is increasing, and supply is very limited,” said Holyoake.
“At the moment Katikati’s housing stock of mostly three and four bedroom homes, doesn’t fit the needs of our older population who typically want to downsize.
“Providing affordable housing especially for older people often means they can stay in their local community, and continue to contribute to the strong social networks and proactive community that makes Katikati so special.”
Latest figures show that 30 percent of people living in Katikati are over 70 years old, and most of those people are on an annual income of less than $50,000 (58 percent of all households).
The move to support the elder community by retaining and redeveloping the elder housing was backed by the community (88 percent in support) through the Long Term Plan 2021-31.
“We’re now acting on this support with an increase to the number of units to occupy the Heron Crescent site,” said Holyoake. The council was now at the start line of this project, but had the opportunity to do something incredibly meaningful for the older community.
“We’re very excited to be addressing, where we can, some of the housing issues our rohe and people are facing. It’s not an overnight solution but it’s a start.
“And we want to take the Katikati community on the journey with us, so we’ll be sharing the final concepts approved by Council by the end of autumn.”