Housing a main priority for Southland Beyond 2025 Project

Housing has been a key challenge for the Southland region, and it is on top of the list for Beyond 2025 Southland project.

Bobbi Brown – Beyond 2025 Southland project lead.

In February, the Government unveiled Southland’s Just Transition Work Plan to boost the region’s economy, as the New Zealand Aluminium Smelter had announced plans for closure in 2024.

Beyond 2025 Southland is Southland Just Transition’s long term planing project and the project has five key pillars, with 16 work-stream areas to focus on.

The five pillars are, environment and climate change, diversification of the economy, strengthening local business, resource and infrastructure and population and people.

Beyond 2025 Southland project lead Bobbi Brown said the team had confirmed the structure of how the plan process would work during the next 18 months.

Housing, which falls under the resources and infrastructure pillar, had been identified as one of the key challenges for the region, Brown said.

“One of the big ones is housing. So, housing is probably coming through as one of the key challenges or priorities for the region.

“For example we know we’ve got a labour shortage, so people need workers; however we also need to have somewhere for those workers to live,” she said.

The idea of the 16 work-streams was that each would have its own approach and a lot of primary research was getting done to form a basis for the work-streams, Brown said.

Such as, the digital connectivity work-stream, which was under resources and infrastructure pillar, found that it was connected to housing too, she said.

“What … we’ve been doing in the last month is we’ve been driving around the region, testing the cell phone coverage of the three telecoms.

“And so we’re going to have a map of the current coverage, and that’s the starting point from which that group will go right what do we do.

“So actually if we’re looking at a large housing subdivision somewhere, we probably want to make sure there’s cellphone coverage,” Brown said.

The project were also working on refreshing the Southland Regional Development Strategy (SoRDS) that had been released in 2015 and were aiming to unveil the new strategy by 2023, she said.

Article by Uma Ahmed, reproduced from Stuff.