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Five councillors and local residents inspect the proposed site for 17 temporary dwellings.

Social housing refused

By Sally McGlew

A PROPOSAL for 17 temporary homes for the homeless has been rejected by the City of Swan for redevelopment on Devon St, Woodbridge.

Voting at the City of Swan’s last council meeting for 2020 on Wednesday, December 16, councillors decided the site, at lots 1, 2, 3, 4 and 178,  was reserved for Parks and Recreation and did not meet the urban development requirements for Bushfire Prone Areas.

Of the public objections submitted most were concerned with the use of a regional reserve for parks and recreation being unsuitable for temporary housing; the clearing of native vegetation and destruction of fauna habitat; the housing would be adversely affected by rail noise; the housing is located too far away from necessary services; the housing is not in keeping with the heritage values of Woodbridge and the proposal will entail adverse social impacts.

A spokeswoman for the Department of  Planning, said the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) had been working with My Home Australasia to identify suitable locations for innovative temporary housing proposals for the homeless.

“Specifically locations that are close to public transport, shopping and medical facilities,” the spokeswoman said.

“As landowner, the WAPC has withdrawn the development application for lots 4 and 178 Devon Street, Woodbridge and will undertake to source another more suitable site early in the new year.

“Any future development would be subject to assessment in accordance with the relevant planning framework and State planning policies.”

At the same meeting, Council also voted to approve the use of a shipping container to feed the homeless seven nights a week behind the City admin building  on Morrison Road.

The Council report said the City aimed to support initiatives which provided direct services to people experiencing homelessness, particularly during COVID-19.

Midland Meals, operated by a local church group on a voluntary basis, will run the project.

The group is funded with a COVID-19 community support grant.

Council approved the container for a trial period of 12 months.

In March, the City of Swan declared a homeless crisis, identifying homelessness as a critical issue facing its community and acknowledged the provision of housing to the displaced, which is a function of State Government, should always be seen as the first and highest priority to address the crisis.

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