Plans to revitalise a major social housing precinct in Wagga Wagga have taken another step forward thanks to the NSW Nationals in the state government, with a Community Housing Provider named to help drive the project’s design.
Local NSW Nationals MLC Wes Fang congratulated Argyle Consortium for winning a competitive open tender process to partner with NSW Land and Housing Corporation on the Tolland Renewal project.
“This outcome represents another positive milestone in transforming the Tolland Estate into a better place to live in a vibrant community which provides better support for people in need and unlocks the door to modern housing that meets their needs,” Mr Fang said.
“After announcing these plans in late June, a competitive Expression of Interest process was run by LAHC and won by the Argyle Consortium – and this is where our plans gather even greater energy and momentum.
“Argyle will now work with the government, through LAHC and the Aboriginal Housing Office, to create a long-term vision for delivering a progressive housing community, connected with jobs, transport and essential services.”
NSW Nationals Property and Housing Minister Melinda Pavey said the goal was to revitalise this regional community and change lives, with the Argyle Consortium working with LAHC to co-design a masterplan and business case that maps out Tolland’s revitalisation.
“This partnership will help renew social, affordable and private homes and deliver enhanced open spaces and community infrastructure,” Mrs Pavey said.
“We want to break the cycle of disadvantage by building safer and stronger communities that provide better opportunities to access tenant support services while creating housing independence; not just in the Riverina, but throughout NSW.”
Mayor of the City of Wagga Wagga Greg Conkey OAM said council looked forward to working closely with the government and Argyle Consortium to make this project a success.
“Wagga Wagga City Council supports this vision to renew the Tolland Estate which will bring significant benefits to the residents of Tolland and the broader City,” Cr Conkey said.
Argyle Housing CEO, Wendy Middleton, said her group was partnering with BlueCHP and NSWALC Housing, to help provide better outcomes in Wagga Wagga.
“This renewal will create a vibrant, diverse, community comprising new private housing, affordable housing and specialist housing models linked to support services which will enable positive social and educational outcomes for people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures,” Ms Middleton said.
“In partnership with local organisations and communities, we will ensure project participants meet all challenges, devise new solutions and emerge stronger within the community, to increase housing options for everybody in the Wagga Wagga and Riverina community.”
To support the project, Argyle can also explore access to infrastructure and housing construction funding provided through the NSW Nationals in the federal government’s $1 billion National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation.
LAHC and Argyle Consortium will negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding in early 2021 and then begin early planning works, in consultation with Wagga Wagga City Council.
This project is still in the early stages of creation, with the master planning process expected to take around 12 to 18 months to complete.
There will be no tenant relocations until this master planning and a delivery strategy are finalised, with residents and the wider community given multiple opportunities to provide their feedback to LAHC, council and the Argyle Consortium.
The original Tolland Estate was developed and built between the 1970s and 1990s and currently contains about 230 properties owned by LAHC and the AHO, as well as 20 parcels of vacant land and a community centre.
The final number and mix of social, affordable and private homes delivered in the renewal will be determined during the development of the masterplan and business case.
This project will also act as a pilot program to explore how large housing estate renewals can be delivered in regional NSW, to help build stronger communities.