Change of plan: Gander’s objection to units and home goes out the window

COUNCILLOR Ron Gander has lent his support to an affordable housing development for 10 units and a four bedroom home on a block of land in Bletchington Street, despite previously speaking out about the congestion and social problems he believed it would create.

Councillors unanimously approved the Housing Plus development for Bletchington Street, at Tuesday’s council meeting, on condition the applicant has soil testing to prove the site has been decontaminated since a fuel tank was removed.

Another Housing Plus development for 10 one and two-bedroom units in Icely Road was deferred until councillors inspect the site after last minute changes were lodged with council.

Cr Gander questioned where the garbage bins for the units would be stored at the meeting, but voted to approve the Bletchington Street development despite saying he would reject the units when the development application (DA) was lodged with the council in February.

In explaining his backflip, Cr Gander said he had changed his mind after speaking to the applicant Housing Plus - the non-government agency that administers the federal government’s rental affordability scheme.

BACK THEN: UNITS TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT, SAYS GANDER

“I’ve got no objections to it all now,” he said.

“My main concern is with [the] Icely Road [development], [the DA] made the statement people had to park their car on the street and with Orange that’s not on.”

Unlike social housing, affordable housing targets workers on low to moderate incomes and gives them a 20 per cent rent reduction on the market rate.

“I think these two groups of units they are building will be an asset,” Cr Gander said.

“Everyone in them [the units] has to be employed and they get that subsidy to save for a deposit for their own home.”

Cr Gander said his concerns in February stemmed from the belief the original DA would have allowed Housing NSW to take control of the units.

“I’ve got no objections to it all now ... I think these two groups of units they are building will be an asset"

“I don’t have much confidence in public housing,” he said.

“The most recent DA says under no circumstances will it go to the department of housing and I will hold them to that.

“The main problem with social housing is that there aren’t any policies to protect the good tenants.”

Despite his change of heart, Cr Gander remained critically of “highly congested” development but said it was becoming an increasing trend as more residents wanted smaller backyards.

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