Residents: Call for action on Girrawheen housing site plans

Residents Tanya Cairns, Nat Sangalli and Trevor Bordas with Opposition members Fran Logan, Mark McGowan, Margaret Quirk and Simone McGurk. Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au d443051
Residents Tanya Cairns, Nat Sangalli and Trevor Bordas with Opposition members Fran Logan, Mark McGowan, Margaret Quirk and Simone McGurk. Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au d443051

RESIDENTS and the State Opposition have called for action on plans to redevelop Girrawheen’s former Hainsworth Primary School.

Neighbours said the Housing Authority’s medium-density urban infill development would ease ongoing problems at the vacant property, including fires, squatters, dumped rubbish, anti-social behaviour and motorbikes.

Girrawheen MLA Margaret Quirk, Opposition housing spokesman Fran Logan, community services spokeswoman Simone McGurk and residents joined Labor leader Mark McGowan on a tour of the site last week.

Mr McGowan said it was “unacceptable” that the project had dragged on since the school closed about seven years ago.

“The government (has) let this opportunity for affordable housing go past and all these anti-social issues to happen,” Mr McGowan said.

Resident Trevor Bordas, whose property abuts the former school, said he wanted to see works progress and encouraged development like the nearby Blackmore Park Estate.

“If they can do something similar to that here, it’d be brilliant,” he said.

“There’s (currently) kids on motorbikes and quite often you hear cars up here with trailers and they’re dumping stuff.

“When it’s summer, it’s quite dry here and in theory they put firebreaks around but whenever you smell smoke, you run out and think ‘is it going up’?”

Milun Stefanovic, who also lives next to the site, said he had been confronted by youths while riding his bicycle past the site.

Ms Quirk said plans had been “put off” rather than something happening with the site.

“It’s not good enough for the residents, it’s not good enough for first-time buyers who want affordable housing,” she said.

“It will revive the area; it will bring some young families in, there will be nice public open space here and we’ll get rid of all the squatters, vandals, firebugs and everyone else who’s just caused havoc.”

Housing Authority commercial operations acting general manager Nigel Hindmarsh said the authority had managed all known issues of vandalism and anti-social behaviour and continued to monitor the site.

Mr Hindmarsh said the project was part of the State Affordable Housing Strategy to deliver 30,000 homes by 2020.

The site would include a mix of housing, including traditional houses, semi-detached units and apartments.

“The construction of new apartments in an established suburb like Girrawheen will cater to a growing number of smaller households that do not require a traditional three-bedroom detached house,” he said.

“Approval for the structure plan was granted in July and the authority is currently undertaking technical and planning due diligence. Further planning approvals are required before works can commence.”

Mr Hindmarsh said residents could contact the authority about any concerns or incidents and there would be security during development works.

“Anti-social behaviour and vandalism will reduce with the activation of street interfaces, as well as improvements in urban design outcomes,” he said.

Mr Logan said there were currently about 54,000 men, women and children looking for a place to live in public housing.