The sale of the 80 houses at the former detention centre site at Inverbrackie is extremely welcome news.
The likely injection of 80 new families into the Woodside economy will bring widespread benefits to the town and wider region.
The impending sale will finally make good use of a taxpayer funded resource which, before it was used to house asylum seekers in late 2010, had remained empty for years following a decision by the Defence Department to house its personnel in the wider community.
The houses, mostly built in the 1980s, are of good quality and, although small by today’s standards, have recently been upgraded to the tune of $10m ($125,000 per home) and are located in pleasant surroundings.
They should be attractive to home buyers when they come onto the open market.
The purchase of 80 houses in a single lot makes them only available to a large investor and the future of the site is completely in their hands.
Mayo MP Jamie Briggs believes they would be suitable for development into an aged-care facility while the Mayor of the Adelaide Hills Council, Bill Spragg, would prefer they be occupied by a mix of family types and age groups.
Both are adamant the houses need to be occupied.
Both are correct.
Mr Spragg has indicated the property will need to be rezoned before any re-sale of houses can take place by the new owner.
The property was a farm when acquired by the Federal Government. The subsequent development – the Commonwealth does not have to abide by State or council planning regulations – has significantly changed its land use from Primary Production meaning it will need a more appropriate classification.
Mr Spragg believes the State Government is unlikely to allow the creation of any new titles in the watershed zone.
Whatever the nuances of the planning regulations, the State must surely recognise it is not allowing any ‘new’ houses to be built by granting new titles. They are already there.
The smooth transition of these houses onto the open market is imperative and for it to be caught up in red tape would make everyone a loser.
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