The Beagle Editor, In response to your editorial asking what do our town planners do (other than to rubber stamp the mundane, thoughtless, profit maximising visions of others) I write to also ask "is there something else we could do with the Dalmeny land? Council pat themselves on the back and say they decided to sell to help the housing crisis. Pigs ar*e it will help. There are no conditions able to be placed on block size, land sale pricing or design. It won't have any parks or playgrounds and all the trees within the subdivision will be gone along with a 25 metre asset protection zone. This is what they are doing in Victoria. A regional Victorian council is considering transferring council-owned land worth more than $3.6 million for social housing.
Councillors at City of Greater Geelong are expected to give the green light on Tuesday to launch a period of public consultation on the proposal to hand over three parcels of land that have been identified as suitable.
Council will seek feedback on the views of local residents and the wider community from Wednesday if the recommendation is endorsed.
It comes as the City faces high rental stress and growing demand for social and affordable housing, Deputy Mayor Trent Sullivan says.
Cr Sullivan says there are currently 3,300 households living in social housing in Greater Geelong but some 10,000 families are currently in need, and demand is expected to grow to 17,000 by 2041.
“Paying rent is a struggle for many people and it can result in financial stress, homelessness, and having to move away from family, friends, employment, education and support networks,” he said.
“There is a shared responsibility to identify land that’s suitable for social housing, including all levels of government and the development community.”
Benefits for the community
Social Housing Chair, Councillor Sarah Mansfield, said increasing the supply of social housing could support vulnerable community members and deliver benefits for the entire community.
“Our region is growing which means the demand for social housing is growing across our region too,” Cr Mansfield said.
“There are many people who are working and earning money but are not able to afford the extremely high costs of private rental in many areas across the region.”
Social housing plan
The use of council-owned land for social housing is identified as an option in the City’s 2020-2024 Social Housing Plan.
The plan aims to increase the supply of social housing from three to seven per cent of total households by 2031, an estimated increase of 6,000 dwellings, with another 6,000 by 2041.
As well as providing council land for social housing, the strategy proposes amending the local planning scheme to require the inclusion of social and affordable housing in developments on City’s owned land.
It also recommends maximsing state and commonwealth investment and , and supporting the inclusion of mandatory planning controls in state legislation.
The plan notes that there is “significant land supply in Geelong and the municipality is not ‘locked’ by adjacent populated municipalities”.
Over to you new councillors. Are you visionaries or are you the town planners puppets keeping the mundane, easy, no thought required vision that has the Nature Coast looking like the Truman Show.