A Central Coast councillor called on her colleagues not to be narrow minded about affordable housing projects when a Wyong boarding house was approved at the last council meeting.
Councillor Rebecca Gale Collins supported the proposal for a double storey, 24 room boarding house at 15 Leppington St, Wyong, saying “we need to cater for all people across the Central Coast and not be narrow minded”.
“We need to find accommodation for the extra 70 to 75,000 residents that are going to be here by 2036 and as we’ve discussed in the affordable housing policy, we do need some boarding houses,” she said.
The boarding house, plus manager’s residence, is on a 1502sq m block among other single dwellings on the eastern side of Leppington St.
This area is undergoing a gradual transition from mostly single houses to a mix of other forms of housing such as dual occupancies and multi dwelling residential developments.
It is close to shops, medical services, bus and rail transport, pre school, primary school and recreational facilities such as playing fields, public swimming pool and licensed bowling club.
The plan comprises two buildings with a central communal open space area, 14 car parking spaces, and each of the 24 double rooms will contain a kitchenette and bathroom, with a common living room on the ground floor for all the residents.
There will be a resident manager, who will be available at all times to ensure the boarding house operates in a manner that doesn’t disturb residential amenity.
The owner/proprietor of the project was required to devise an appropriate Plan of Management (PoM), which was one of the development consent conditions, to help reassure surrounding residents that the development would not create undesirable outcomes.
The PoM outlines the responsibilities of the manager, the residents and measures for addressing complaints and disputes as well as safety and security matters.
Prospective tenants will be rigorously screened and there will be tenancy agreements so residents are aware that anti-social behavior may result in eviction.
A social impact assessment report said the proposed boarding house was likely to provide flexible accommodation for students, casual workers, single parents, or lower income earning singles, in a range of age groups.
The $2.4m boarding house was approved under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 and complies with all relevant state and local planning policies.
It is expected to be ready for occupation by 2021.
Forty submissions from surrounding residents were received by council against the boarding house.
Opposition was on the grounds of safety and security because of perceived increase in criminal or undesirable activity, the bulk and scale of building not being in character with the area, traffic congestion and noise, parking problems, increase in residential population and the flooding impact the building might have on surrounding properties.
Residents also wanted an assurance from council that if the boarding house failed, it would not become a backpackers’ hostel, a halfway house for ex-prisoners or drug addicts, or become short-stay accommodation such as B&B.
Owner, Nick Karahalios, told council at the July 22 meeting that he and his wife had over 20 years’ experience as proprietors/managers of affordable housing with boarding houses in both Sydney and the Central Coast, and were equipped with the necessary professional qualifications.
They operate another, reasonably new facility, at 33 Gorokan Dve, Lake Haven.
He said if they ever sold the Wyong property, its future use would be a matter for council, but he believed that to change its use would require a new development application to council.
Meeting, July 22
Central Coast Council