This article was first published by Wagga Council News on 14 September 2023 – Updated 2:05. Click here to view the full article.
Wagga councillors have welcomed progress on a major plan to revitalise the city as it goes on public exhibition this week.
The Tolland Concept Masterplan, aimed at renewing affordable and private homes and enhancing open spaces and community infrastructure in the suburb went up on public exhibition on Monday as plans progress.
Last week, council resolved to place the draft masterplan on public exhibition and mover of the motion Richard Foley said it’s sorely needed.
“It’s great to see this project is starting to move forward,” Cr Foley told the council last week.
“It’s been a real issue for people living in this area of Tolland for many years, because there’s been a lot of struggle.”
The Tolland Renewal Project will see the creation of 180 social housing dwellings, 20 affordable housing dwellings and 292 additional private lots, adding to the suburb’s existing 219 social housing dwellings.
Being delivered alongside the project are an additional 74 social housing dwellings around the Duke of Kent Oval in Central.
Overall, the project will see a net increase of 55 social and affordable dwellings across Wagga.
Cr Jenny McKinnon also expressed her support for the “terrific” project.
“I’m glad to see there’s a 42-day period for the public exhibition process,” Cr McKinnon said.
She also noted Wagga’s “very substantial public housing waiting lists” but raised questions as to whether the estate provides enough new dwellings for the city.
“While I really applaud the Land and Housing Corporation and Argyle Housing for what they’re doing together with this project, I note that it provides a net increase of 55 social and affordable housing dwellings in Wagga,” Cr McKinnon said.
Cr McKinnon also wondered how many more people will be able to fit under new homes provided by the project.
“I understand the fastest growing category on the public housing waiting list is for single bedroom housing/accommodation,” she said.
“So I’m a little concerned we don’t have the exact information about what this net increase of 55 dwellings … will mean and how many people will actually be able to be housed.”
As of June 30, there were 644 people on the waiting list for public housing in Wagga, with 48 listed for priority assessment.
In addition to extra housing there are plans to create a new public open space stretching from the suburb’s northeast corner to the southwest.
There are also plans to simplify access though the suburb via the removal of several existing cul-de-sacs.
Originally developed and built in the 1970s and 1980s, the Tolland Estate incorporates public and private housing along with parcels of vacant land and community precincts.
Over time concerns have increased that social housing in the area is no longer fit for purpose, leading to significant maintenance issues for the NSW Land and Housing Corporation.
This has been compounded with concerns about the character of the neighbourhood which has become a hotspot for crime and other issues.
In response, the state government, Argyle Housing, Council and other parties have prepared a high-level 10-year masterplan to renew the estate that will see improved social and affordable housing, tailored housing models and more private dwellings.
Members of the public are encouraged to provide feedback on the masterplan at wagga.nsw.gov.au before the exhibition period ends on October 24.