Iwi blessed the new units at dawn today, and residents, City Councillors, Council staff and project contractors celebrated with a morning tea at 10am.
Carol Richardson is one of the new residents moving in during early March. She says it's the best birthday present she could ask for. “I’ll be 77 the day I move into my new flat. When they called, I said “oh my God, that’s my birthday”!”
The move rounds out a great start to 2020 for Carol – she’s had a facial cancer removed, her cataract surgery is booked, she’s just enjoyed a large family celebration – and now she's getting a new home.
Carol is moving into the one-bedroom Council unit from a two-bedroom private rental.
When she answered her phone to hear she had a unit at Papaioea Place, Carol was overjoyed. “I’ve never been in a new home. It’s enough to bring me to tears.” She wondered “what colour I’m going to get”, referring to the development’s multi-colour facade.
I absolutely love them. I give credit to the Council for building them so that they are there for my sort of people, in wheelchairs, with walkers and walking sticks – they are looking after the old.Carol Richardson
PNCC Property Manager Bryce Hosking says the new units at Papaioea Place are open-plan, with futureproof design to help enhance residents' quality of living. “All units are double-glazed and well-insulated. They're also designed to meet Lifemark level-four standards and have gained certification. This means the units are equipped to meet tenants' lifetime mobility and agility needs.”
Her Papaioea Place home will give Carol new freedom. “I haven’t been out the back door for yonks because it’s a nuisance with my walker and I’ve had a couple of falls. My son said, “Mum, you’ll be able to get your walker straight out the door and walk all the way around that concrete – and I expect you to do it!”. The kitchen, the dining room, the lounge being all in one, to me is just so cosy. It’s all I want.”
The site of the $13.5 million development project previously had 48 Council houses. Preparation is now under way for stage two, with 28 more units to be built. Once complete, the city’s overall social housing portfolio will have increased by 30 units.
PNCC Housing Tenancy Manager Jason McDowell says Council is excited for the new tenants to feel warm and safe in these affordable homes. “Many are moving from emergency housing or larger homes that are now available for families in our community.”
The original tenants have expressed their gratitude to Council since the first new homes opened in March last year, McDowell says.
“They feel more connected to their community than ever before, becoming more active and interacting with their neighbours, experiencing low power bills and warm homes, which all are contributing to a better quality of life.”