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Working towards solutions

The Bugle App

Local Contributor

28 June 2024, 11:00 PM

Working towards solutions

26 June 2024

By Brett Robinson

CEO Traders In Purple

There’s nothing like a crisis to bring people together in a common purpose, and so we and the rest of Kiama await the release of Kiama Council’s Growth and Housing Strategy with high anticipation.

Over the past few weeks, we have engaged closely with Council’s planning staff to help them fully understand the critical role Springside Hill will play in addressing the housing crisis and contributing to the five-year target of 900 completed homes set by the NSW Government.

The release of information about plans for Bombo Quarry provides a great sense of clarity for everyone in the community. It also outlines the expected timing, planning and remediation processes required before construction can start.

With a reported timeframe of five to eight years to make the site ready for development, it seems like there will be no houses at Bombo Quarry until after 2029 at the earliest.

The question then is how the Council’s strategy will address the current housing pain whilst waiting on Bombo Quarry, and whether the status quo of forcing the most productive people, the future of Kiama, to establish their homes, families and businesses elsewhere, will remain. We genuinely hope that Council does heed their own warning that ‘just saying no’ is no longer suitable.

To meet the new housing target would require 180 home completions a year up until 2029. In 2020, 54 new homes were built in the local government area. In 2021 the number was 85 homes and in 2022, 54 homes.

Based on that performance, it will take close to three years just to hit the one-year target.

We have always said that there needs to be multiple solutions to address this housing crisis, both short and long term. With Kiama Council forecasting the need for more than 3,500 new homes over the next 20 years, more options are needed, not less.

Like Council, we have been listening to the residents of Kiama and hearing about the hard choices people have made because there are so few opportunities to build or rent a home.  When scarce opportunities do become available they are priced beyond reach and snapped up in an instant.

That is what happens in constrained housing markets when land is released piecemeal. It’s like a drop of rain in a drought that evaporates before anybody has a chance to drink.

And in the most expensive housing market in NSW outside Sydney, it does nothing to put homes within the reach of locals and those who have the energy and will to make a wholehearted commitment to maintaining Kiama as one of the most liveable towns in Australia.