Council supports social housing development

Photo by Damjan Janevski. 245319_02

Tara Murray

A fiery debate erupted at the Brimbank council meeting on Tuesday night over plans for a social housing development in Keilor Downs.

As reported by Star Weekly, residents in the surrounding streets have raised concerns about the 47 dwellings in Copernicus Way, which are being built as part of the Big Housing Build.

The group of residents against the proposal have raised a number of concerns about the development, including increased traffic from the development, access to services and public transport, lack of consultation and a lack of resources including mental health.

The state government is overseeing the project, which is being run by Baptcare.

The council raised the matter as an urgent business matter at the council meeting, to express its view on the project.

The council eventually passed a motion providing feedback on the project, which said the council had found that the development complies with the requirements, subject to recommended changes to the plans and associated documents.

The motion also called for the consultation period with the local community to be extended.

Several councillors spoke in favour of the project saying they needed more social housing, but were critical of the consultation process.

Cr Jae Papalia said it was a really tough situation, a view shared by other councillors.

“I do hear concerns from our residents,” she said.

“I do agree that the consultation has been poor and I believe the council should express concern about how that has been handled.

“Homelessness in Brimbank is the highest of the west… I think this project presents diverse housing.”

Cr Sam David said it was a must for the council to support increasing social housing.

Not all councillors supported the motion, with Cr Maria Kerr and Cr Virginia Tachos voting against it.

Cr Kerr, who lives near the proposed location, put up an alternative motion which included just 37 one-bedroom dwellings with a number of other changes, which was rejected.

She said the community had been willing to support the amended motion.

“I submit this amended motion on behalf of the community,” she said.

“The community has responded with over 1100 signatures on a petition.

“The residents are not proposing social housing, they are concerned about the scale and the density of this development.

“The addition of 47 units in an already clustered area will add to traffic congestion and social distancing concerns. The changes proposed to this development have the ability to transform this precinct into a development the community can support and be proud of.”

Many residents took to social media after the council meeting expressing their frustrations with the decision.