Pacific Link proposal reduces social housing

Lynn Freeland, of Pacific Link, hands over the keys to a tenant’s new homeLynn Freeland, of Pacific Link, hands over the keys to a tenant’s new home. Image: Pacific Link archive 2019

[Forum] Luke Chell (Forum, edition 487) expresses commendable sentiments.

There is a real need for social housing.

However, exactly what is provider Pacific Link proposing for its site near the busy industrial area, locale of the Ocean Beach Rd-Rawson Rd roundabout?

The address of the site is 1 Waratah Ave, Woy Woy, but its long side is in Ocean Beach Rd and the development it proposes would face into Ocean Beach Rd with all resident traffic entering and exiting from there.

A three-story structure with 12 one- and two-bedroom units is proposed.
This large, high building would cover the long, narrow land almost completely, with all resident parking underneath it at ground level and all washing and drying indoors.

Currently, Pacific Link’s proposed site is occupied by two neat brick cottages each with a back and front yard and single brick garage and each built to accommodate a typical family of two adults and two children, a total of eight people being comfortably housed.

These cottages are owned by Pacific Link and are social housing.
Pacific Link’s new proposal is very different from the current two neat brick cottages. Occupancy planned averages 1.5 persons per unit for each of 12 units, totaling 18 occupants in all.

Only three of the units are to be for social housing. The other nine are to be for private sale. Pacific Link has told me each of the three social housing units would be occupied by one person only, total of three persons accommodated in social housing as compared with the current two neat brick cottages providing for eight.

Thus, what is planned would result in a net decrease in social housing of five persons. Meanwhile, the rear (western) wall of Pacific Link’s proposed three-storey structure would present the residents of the pleasant four-villa complex behind it at 3 Waratah Avenue with a high, blank concrete wall, blocking summer breezes, reflecting massive summer heat onto them and overshadowing.

Paradoxically, these four villas are all social housing properties being provided by Housing NSW. Thus, the proposed Pacific Link development will not only reduce their own social housing from eight persons to five but will also destroy the amenity enjoyed by the social housing residents next door to it.

The Peninsula has a long history of embracing social housing and NSW housing residents are found in Railway St, Farnell Rd, and Camellia Circle, Woy Woy, as well as the large development for the most seriously disadvantaged, just to the east of Woy Woy’s Blackwall Rd shopping area.

The Peninsula has become expansive, over-developed and over-trafficked to the point of discomfort. Cheaper, less restricted land is available further to the north and to the west. Presumably that is where Pacific Link is proposing to invest the millions of profits it is seeking to reap at 1 Waratah Ave.

Unfortunately, the site is very unsuitable for the development Pacific Link proposes, much too large for the long, narrow land it has, destroys the amenity at 3 Waratah Ave and creates a major traffic hazard with its residents’ cars having to enter and exit via Ocean Beach Rd.

And don’t mention the weekly prospect of pedestrians having to negotiate 24 large garbage bins clogging the footpath on their way to the bus stop.

Letter, 11 Feb 2020
Eunice Warden, Woy Woy