Former YHA building to house ski staff

One of Queenstown’s biggest employers has just inked a deal to provide accommodation for some of its staff.

NZSki has leased the 30-room former YHA building in Shotover St.

Chief executive Paul Anderson said the property could house up to 50 skifield workers this winter, many of whom still had not had any luck finding their own accommodation, and were trying to juggle house-hunting with work.

“To be able to jump into the market and take a load off, it’s a starter,” he said.

NZSki also owned several other properties in Queenstown which, in all, added 24 beds to its pool, but it was still looking for more options.

“We’ve talked to a few other providers around town. A lot of them are just a little bit too pricey for our staff, so the other thing we’ve been doing is making contact with families, as we’ve always done, and we’re finding some of that accommodation is starting to flow back on the market. “

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult said the worker accommodation shortage in the district was acute, and worse than it had been before Covid-19.

That was, in part, because former rental properties had been sold to out-of-town buyers as holiday homes, while others were being used as Airbnbs.

Mr Boult said the council could not find any way for various worker accommodation proposals to stack up, commercially.

There remained no obvious solution, so he encouraged homeowners with spare rooms to rent them to workers, and he would be happy to be the “personal go-to” linking prospective renters with homeowners.

He also wanted to hear from anyone with other worker accommodation solutions or suggestions, as long as that was not “container units”.

“They still require land, consents, electricity, plumbing … It won’t work.”

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