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Housing And Retirement Villages

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Grey Power to ask government to intervene over South Island wood burner rules

Grey Power will ask the government to intervene to ensure Canterbury’s clear air rules allow old wood burners to be upgraded.

The organisation maintains people are living in unheated homes in winter as prescriptive council rules stop them from using older-style wood burners.

Most councils took a practical approach to air pollution but Environment Canterbury required log burners 15-years-old or older to be replaced regardless of efficiency, it says.

National Grey Power president Tom O’Connor says the organisation will ask the government to allow older style wood burners to be retrofitted.
South Canterbury-based national president Tom O’Connor said Grey Power wanted the government to require all regional air plans include a provision for older solid fuel heaters to be upgraded to meet reasonable air standards.

READ MORE:
Burner ideas to be taken to ECan
​* Change still on the table
Consent rule pitched
Meeting with minister sought

This could be done as a discretionary activity under current resource management rules, as was the case in Marlborough, O’Connor said.

Log burners were, traditionally, essential for healthy warm homes in the colder parts of New Zealand, including much of the South Island, he said.

“In parts of Canterbury we now have people, who can’t afford a new log burner, living in unheated homes in the South Island winter, through fear of having a smoky chimney and a penalty from their regional council.”

Minister for the Environment Nick Smith on Sunday said he was open to discussing Grey Power’s concerns about the air quality regime.

He was also set to attend a community meeting on the issue, invited by National Party Rangitata candidate Andrew Falloon, at a time to be confirmed.

He intended to place a greater focus on particulate matter (PM) smaller than 2.5 microns, rather than on the PM10 of the current standards.

He wanted to ensure “we get a better balance in ensuring we get better air quality”: consideration needed to be given to balancing community needs and the need for clean air.

O’Connor is also secretary of the South Canterbury Regional Air Plan Liaison Committee, which wants ECan’s older wood burner rule, part of the Canterbury Air Regional Plan, abandoned.

The committee has also outlined its position to Smith and to Local Government Minister Anne Tolley.

Last month, it said ECan should consider allowing older style burners to be modified under resource consent.

ECan South Canterbury councillor Peter Scott said he would take that idea to a meeting of ECan councillors.

ECan officials have maintained retrofitting is impractical and costly, and that the plan developed after public consultation did not allow for it.

O’Connor said tradesmen had offered to upgrade older style log burners in Canterbury to meet the new standards as early as 2011.

“It is a relatively straight forward operation which is done on a regular basis and in most cases can be done with the log burner in place.”

“There was also a suggestion that older style log burners should only be replaced when the house was sold but that was also rejected.”

Swiss-made electrostatic chimney filters had been successfully trialled and approved over most of Europe. They would cost around $2500 to buy and have fitted compared to between $5000 and $10,000 for a new log burner, he said.

He noted ECan refused to consider anything other than taking out older log burners.

“We understand the need to clean up the winter air in many towns and cities but those rules simply cannot be so idealistic and strict that people are forced to live in cold houses if they can’t afford new log burners or extra electricity.

“That is a death sentence to many people on limited incomes.”

 – Stuff

Housing crisis will consign seniors to a more lonely lifestyle, scholar warns

The housing crisis, left unchecked, will collide with the country’s ageing population to create unprecedented social dislocation in years ahead, a professor of public health says.

Otago University’s Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman said a largely unexplored dimension of the housing “crisis” involved how falling or stagnant home ownership rates would impact the elderly.

“The [elderly] are not going to be ageing in one place. They’re going to be moved around like everyone else,” she said.

The percentage of owner-occupied households in this country plunged to 64.8 per cent in 2013, the lowest rate since 1951.

Retirement villages ‘just another option” for elderly in Queenstown

Retirement homes are not the only accommodation option for elderly people in Central Otago, an independent expert says.

Retirement villages manager at the Commission for Financial Capability, Troy Churton, told a seminar on retirement home living on Friday that retirement villages were “one of a number of accommodation options” and not the only option available for elderly people to consider.

Website allows elderly and families to rate retirement homes

The elderly and their families can rate and review aged-care facilities in much the same way millions of holiday-makers already do online.

Christchurch man Nigel Matthews launched website Aged Advisor in May 2015 to enable people to find and compare retirement villages, elderly care, rest homes and aged care facilities.

“We want to have an honest forum, with as many facilities listed as possible, so people can see the great jobs people are doing,” Matthews said.

Seniors snapping up units in Nelson lifestyle villages

Demand appears high for lifestyle village living in Nelson, with more than half the villas and terrace houses in Richmond’s $50 million Olive Estate sold, and over 70 per cent of the units in the first stage occupied.

Olive Estate general manager Kristin Nimmo said stage one of the project was completed last week with 20 units currently occupied and new residents scheduled to move in over the next few weeks.

Construction began on the 8.4 hectare Olive Estate lifestyle village last September and the first stage consisted of 20 villas and 8 terrace houses.

Elderly Face Challenges To Secure Housing

Ageing New Zealanders are facing major challenges securing affordable, accessible and safe housing.

“More and more people will enter retirement as renters [of their homes] and that’s very new for New Zealand,” says social researcher Bev James, of Blenheim.

Bev was one of two people who addressed a recent meeting in Blenheim about housing for older people.

Right now, she says, older people have the highest rates of home ownership, but the time is coming when the younger generation of New Zealanders won’t be able to afford their own homes.