John wants to see Nelson attract talented people who have a passion for their work and the lifestyle. He is a developer of a large subdivision in Marsden Valley, Nelson, and I have come to get an idea of what he is trying to achieve.
“Nelson’s industries are the four Fs – Farming, Forestry, Fishing, and Foreigners/Tourists” He believes his new subdivision will provide high quality housing to attract and retain the talented workers that are important to help regenerate these industries.
His new subdivision is in sunny Marsden Valley, close to Richmond and Nelson. It is a high quality, higher density development that includes sections for single family homes and sections for multi-unit “comprehensive housing” for seniors.
“People will move to Nelson for work” His development seeks to provide a high quality suburb with rural surrounds. Quantity has been traded for quality, and he has taken pains to develop a utility and roading infrastructure that will be tidy for many years into the future.
“I just had to accept the idea that as a developer I would be seen as money hungry” He has taken a large risk by paying for expense of resource consent, surveying, roading, and utilities. The design had to be carefully considered up front. While a developer might hope for flexibility to change plans midstream to reduce the risk of failure, once a resource consent is obtained, there is little room to move in light of new information or market situations.
And strangely, some ideas generally recognised as good can be received poorly when motives are questioned. Urban design practice generally recommends higher density living, like smaller lot sizes or multi-unit developments. And higher density can be more profitable as well for developers. But for this reason, John feels, plans for higher density living tend to be declined.
John would like to see more testing and advice for developers. “What plants should I have in the swales?” he asks. He wants to do the right thing, but with so many decisions to make, it is impossible to always know what is the best decision.
I thank John for his tour and leave him to lock the gate. He is still waiting for someone to begin to build.