The sale and future development of the former Inverbrackie Detention Centre will undoubtedly bring many benefits to Woodside.
Attracting residents to the 81 vacant houses will certainly boost local businesses and potentially draw more people to the Hills.
It will be a welcome injection of funds into the local economy.
There’s no doubt that the developers, Mill Hill Capital, have an aesthetic, country-style estate in mind for the site, with plans to update the homes, build affordable tourist accommodation, attract value-adding primary production businesses and co-ordinate landscaping in communal areas.
But only time will tell whether the site becomes that thriving hub for families, tourists and local industry or whether it becomes a transient and somewhat disconnected community.
The directors of Mill Hill Capital have described the target market of the housing in the estate as families and young people moving into the area who may want to rent in the district before making a more permanent move.
But while the plan may fill a need for short-term accommodation in the Hills, the sale of individual housing lots is likely to be the best long-term solution for both the site and the wider community.
The land’s current rural zoning hinders the site from being subdivided, but that is a concept that the developers have not ruled out.
The Adelaide Hills Council is understandably reluctant to support the idea of Torrens Title allotments at the site, as this would transfer responsibility of the roads and other infrastructure to the council.
However, the sale of the land as community titled allotments could be just the thing the 22ha site needs to bring life to the vision cast by its new owners.
With the newly landscaped communal areas maintained by a body corporate, such a scheme may attract more permanent residents, who are eager to invest in their homes and thereby create a more thriving community.
The site with ready-made infrastructure certainly oozes opportunity, but if the new owners want to breathe life back into the ghost town, they’ll need to attract the right kind of people to form a healthy community.
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