Hurunui continues to grow

Thursday 04 April 2013

The Hurunui District Council’s vision is captured with the phase ‘Community partnership in growth and wellbeing’; and growth is certainly occurring in the district at the moment!

BERL’s 2012 regional rankings for economic growth and development have been released. Hurunui continues to be one of the top 10 performing districts in New Zealand. The district improved on its 2011 ranking of 10th to now sits at 6th. Sixty-six districts are ranked in total, along with 14 regions and 20 cities.

The BERL Regional Rankings provides a comparative measure of the economic performance of the district. The rankings are based on indicators of economic activity – population, employment, value added (GDP) and businesses. The rankings also incorporate the level of activity in the productive (export focused) sectors of the economy.

The building consent area at Hurunui District Council is notably busier than last year. 533 consents were issued between February 2012 and February 2013, for work across the district having a total value of $56m. For the previous 12 months, 386 consents were issued for $29m worth of work.

The latest figures include consents granted for 151 new dwellings, 56 alterations to dwellings, 25 garages, 71 farm buildings, and 34 commercial buildings.

Building and construction in the Amberley Ward is the busiest it has ever been, with four new subdivisions beginning to take shape and with older subdivisions now filling in. At this time there are approximately 458 sections in the district ready to have homes built on them (i.e. sections connected for potable water and/ or sewerage). 117 of these sections are in Amberley, with Hanmer Springs having 265 sections ready to go.

The Council’s District Plan is currently being reviewed, with public notification planned for later in the year. However, District Plan changes undertaken in recent years have already opened up considerable amounts of land for residential subdivision, and have catered for commercial and industrial growth.

The Council’s development contributions methodology was peer reviewed by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2012 as part of its Long Term Plan process. While some minor amendments were made, the levels of contributions being set for developers were felt to fair in comparison to neighbouring districts, and encouraging of development.

New highlights for visitors include two vine-yard cafes that have recently been built. Black Estate’s café in the Waipara Valley is open for business, and Marble Point Winery near Hanmer Springs will soon be open. The Department of Conservation has also recently completed a new extension to the St James Cycleway near Hanmer Springs.

In Amberley, in a few months the Council’s Transfer Station will be moving from its State Highway One, Carters Road location to industrial zoned land at Grays Road, on the Southern entrance of Amberley. Site work is currently underway. In Hanmer Springs, the Council will be commencing a significant upgrade of the Thermal Pools changing rooms later this year. In Cheviot, a library is being added to the Service Centre on State Highway One, and this work is now expected to commence in September, subject to a tender price for the work being accepted.

Some of the larger anticipated developments in the district are taking more time to come to fruition.

The proposed Amberley Brackenfields Shopping Centre was first consented in February 2010. The developers have applied for and received two subsequent resource consents as they have continued to refine their plans. A 3,566 sqm Countdown supermarket has been confirmed as part of the development and Naylor Love have been contracted to build it. However, the planned January 2014 opening date looks unlikely to be met. Ground works were meant to commence in January 2013, but the Council is still waiting for developers to apply for their building consents.

Mainpower’s Mt Cass Wind Farm received Environment Court approval back in January 2012. Mainpower have 8 years to give effect to the consent. They are now looking at the possibility of applying for a consent to build a smaller wind farm on the Doctors Hills near Waikari. An Environment Court decision on Meridian’s application to build a Wind Farm at Glenmark is expected to be released shortly.

A large wine village development at Waipara received consents back in 2007. The global recession put the developer’s plans on hold and at this stage no date for a re-launch has been given. Another large residential subdivision proposed for Waipara is currently working through the required resource consent approval process.