GOLDEN Point residents are up in arms over a proposed four-storey, 52-unit Hickman Street development.
Sixteen people have objected to the proposal, which would be built as part of the federal government’s National Rental Affordability Scheme, which is also partially state government funded.
Thirty residents attended a recent mediation meeting over the proposal with council officers. Resident Leon Downs said it would turn a “little residential street into a disaster”.
“This is a super overdevelopment,” Mr Downs said.
Fellow resident Brian Pola said the proposal would ruin the area.
“It would be a social disaster,” Mr Pola said.
He said a 13-unit proposal for Hickman Street was knocked back by a former council seven years ago for being a “clear overdevelopment”.
The National Rental Affordability Scheme helps middle to low income earners by giving tax-free financial incentives to both business and the not-for-profit sector to build and rent housing.
The Hickman Street proposal includes a basement carpark, two levels of one-bedroom housing and a top level of two-bedroom units.
The site, which lies between Hickman Street and Armstrong Street South, was previously tennis courts.
Ballarat City Council chief executive officer Anthony Schinck said the council was developing policy frameworks for social and affordable housing.
“These developments need to be designed and deployed in the right way and in the right locations to ensure connectivity and access to services, transport, training and employment,” Mr Schinck said.
“They should also enjoy the equivalent amenity to any other residential development.”
Mr Schinck said there was an underuse of Ballarat housing.
“Only 3.9 per cent of dwellings have one bedroom, yet the percentage of lone person households is 28.6 per cent.”
He said there was a mismatch between new housing development locations and demand, significant unmet demand for medium density inner-city rental housing and an insufficient proportion of smaller one and two-bedroom units.
But another resident, Patrick McCabe, said the objectors still had serious concerns.
“We are not selfish NIMBY’s (Not in my backyard). This proposed development is totally inappropriate for the White Flat area,” Mr McCabe said.
Fellow resident John Conway has written to the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin, querying if the development meets National Rental Affordability Scheme guidelines.
In his letter, Mr Conway said he had asked Ms Macklin to further investigate the proposal, particularly due to speculation about its intended tenants.
“At the moment I am led to believe that NRAS tenants tend to be key workers such as childcare workers, nurses, police officers, firefighters and paramedics,” his letter reads.
“Please help me understand how our brightest and most dedicated community-minded workforce requires government assistance to be placed in affordable rental housing?”
At this stage, the application is expected to go before the November 14 Ballarat City Council meeting.
Developers Melbourne-based Ethan Property Group were not able to comment yesterday.