28 March 2017

Land bought for residential section development

The Gore District Council has decided to buy a 3.6ha block of land in East Gore with a view to develop affordable residential sections.

The land fronts on to Wentworth and McDougall streets and is owned by American developer Dr Jack Phillips. The Council has an unconditional agreement to buy it for $360,000, well below its rating valuation of $397,000.

Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said the Council has been aware of the need for affordable residential sections in Gore for some time. The arrival of the Mataura Valley Milk project has exacerbated the section shortage and was the main catalyst for the Council’s move into property development.

“We have been cautiously looking at options for about a couple of years.” 

The East Gore block had been considered in 2015 but the timing wasn’t right, Mr Hicks said.

Since then construction of the infant milk formula plant has started, bringing with it an influx of people and investment that has seen a rise in the demand for residential rentals and houses to buy.

Mr Hicks said the demand for residential properties will only increase as MVM starts looking at hiring staff for the new plant.

He appreciated some people might say the market should be left to provide a solution for the housing shortage. There was also a strong case though for the Council to show leadership, Mr Hicks said. 

“If we don’t have affordable residential sections available for people to buy we are at risk of them opting to live outside the District. In fact, there are indications this is already happening.

“We talk a lot about economic development. However, until now Gore has been the only urban area south of Oamaru without a residential subdivision offering a choice of conventional sized sections in the mid- market price range.”

Even Balclutha, a town smaller than Gore, has a 66 lot subdivision development being funded by the Clutha District Council, Mr Hicks said.

Chief Executive Stephen Parry said a subdivision plan and development cost estimates will be presented to councillors in the near future. It was hoped to start work on developing the land as early as next spring.

“At this stage we are looking at providing about 35 sections of between 700m2 and 800m2 in size.”

The land has a gentle topography offering good views, is north-facing and should be relatively easy to provide infrastructure for wastewater and stormwater, he said.

A carefully planned and professional residential subdivision was in keeping of the Council’s Rural City Living image of a rural town making things happen. It was also an underpinning goal of the Southland Regional Development Strategy, that is, to attract more people to live in Southland.

The Council takes possession of the land on Wednesday 12 April.

Chief Financial Officer Luke Blackbeard said the purchase would initially be funded from cash reserves. However, at some point it would be transferred to a loan, which will be ultimately repaid by the sale of sections.

Gore District Council 29 Bowler Avenue Gore P: 03 209 0330 E: