This map shows the area to the east and west of Korumburra-Wonthaggi Road that will be opened up for housing but it is taking time, too much time.

The College Estate off Korumburra Road was the last big estate to be opened up but such is the demand for housing in the town that homeowners there are selling for a tidy profit after just 12 months. M040418

SUCH is the demand for new home sites in Wonthaggi at the moment that agents selling the Parklands Coastal Estate in town’s eastern edge expect a ‘Boxing Day Sale’ scramble for sites when Stage II is released soon.
All 28 blocks in Stage I of the development, presently under construction off Korumburra Road (McGibbonys Road), have been sold ahead of the titles being issued, likely midyear.
And LJ Hooker in Wonthaggi reportedly has more than hundred people on a call list, wanting to be notified, when Stage II is released.
A representative of LJ Hooker’s Wonthaggi sales team, Ryan Luke, would not be drawn on the number of people who’ve asked to be called but he acknowledged the extreme level of demand.
“We’re not able to take expressions of interest yet because Stage II hasn’t been released but we do have a list of people who’ve asked to be notified.
“We’d welcome others.
“There won’t be any problem selling the next stage. It’ll be like a Boxing Day Sale,” he said.
“We’re saying early in the year but it could be in the next few months (that more land will be released).
“We don’t know how many blocks will be available in Stage II,” although he did agree a similar number to Stage I, around 29, was likely.
“We could sell many more if we had them.”
Another issue is the release of titles which can only occur once the infrastructure has gone in; the roads, drainage, power and other amenities have been completed, which is happening at the moment.
The shire then needs to tick off the infrastructure works.
“They’re looking at mid-year for the titles to be released for Stage I, that’s when building can start, but I couldn’t tell you when any more titles will be available.”
It’s information that hundreds of local people would like to know.
Why?
There simply aren’t any blocks available in the town. Not a single one.
Well that’s not quite true.
Danny Crellin at PBE Real Estate in Wonthaggi said this week that the firm only had about five blocks of land in new residential estates available for sale, although he frankly admitted they weren’t first-choice sites for one reason or another.
“There’s not a lot on offer and we wouldn’t have a vacant block in the established part of town. We’d like to hear from anyone who has one for sale that’s for sure,” he said.
Not only that, Mr Crellin agreed that exiting residential properties, of almost any kind, were in huge demand to the point where new listings were being sold before the agents could advertise them in their windows.
“That’s pretty much what’s happening,” Mr Crellin said.
In extreme cases, people who bought and built in the College Estate on Korumburra Road a year ago are already selling at an $80,000 profit.
So how has it come to this?
How could a shire which has a basic responsibility to provide 10 to 15 years’ worth of residential land, ahead of all growth projections, have so catastrophically failed to do its job?
It’s a question we put to the Deputy Mayor, himself a real estate agent, Cr Brett Tessari.
“It’s a big concern. Twelve months ago we had an abundance of land,” Cr Tessari said.
“We ran out of houses and then we sold all the blocks before the developers could get started.
“There’s going to be a lot coming on to the market but it’s taking time, too much time, really.”
What can be done to speed up the release of more new home sites?
“The shire’s planning department has been working with the Victorian Planning Authority on the Wonthaggi North East Precinct Structure Plan but certainly, we’ve got an air bubble in the process, for sure.”
Cr Tessari said facilitating housing construction and the jobs that flowed from it were key aspects of the council’s growth plan but he was fully aware that “no building equals no jobs” at the moment.
He said some land would be available for release soon but the bulk of Wonthaggi’s growth potential was caught up in the Wonthaggi North East PSP process.
The shire’s General Manager Advocacy Character and Economy, Allison Jones, acknowledged last week that rapid growth had caught the shire on the hop, and while some new residential land had been rezoned for housing, which the shire “wasn’t holding up”, the bulk of it, 632 hectares of land, yielding 434 hectares for housing or more than 4000 blocks was yet to be approved by council for its final consultation process prior to approval by the Minister.
How long that will take is anyone’s guess but unlikely before the end of the year.
They’ll be a chronic shortage of land for housing until them, crushing housing affordability hopes for many.
“The latest population figures show the Bass Coast has grown 21.5 per cent in the 10 years between 2007 and 2016. At the same time the economy has grown 46 per cent making it the fastest growing municipality in regional Victoria,” Ms Jones said this week.
Ms Jones said significant areas of land had already been rezoned for new housing but work was in progress on rezoning a much larger area as a growth zone, potentially doubling the size of Wonthaggi.
“It will provide Wonthaggi with enough land for the next 30 to
50 years.”
The plan being finalised by the shire isn’t only about land for housing.
The PSP “creates a strategic framework that will guide the town’s growth from 6000 to 16,000 residents through the construction of 4350 new homes over the next 30 to 50 years”.
“The PSP also plans for an expansion of the town’s existing infrastructure to service an increased population, including: a new road network that provides alternative routes through and around the town, an expanded business and industry precinct to increase the number of local jobs in Wonthaggi, new pedestrian and cycle paths, linking to and building on the significant Bass Coast trail network, 98 hectares of new open space, including significant areas of waterways and wetlands, provision for a new community and village hub. The plan will also assist council in seeking continued State investment in service provision and facilities, such as health services. Overall, the PSP embraces the opportunity for population growth to create a vision for a bigger and better Wonthaggi.”
There’s land set aside for:
• A potential Government School 3.50ha
• Local Community Facility (DCP land) 0.50ha
• 27 hectares of roads
• Local Network Park (via Cl 52.01) 19.77ha
• Local Sports Reserve (DCP land) 11.61ha
• Total Open Space 31.38ha and,
• Net residential development area of 434.97ha
Meanwhile the shire is working on several other key planning documents for the town, reviewing the 2008 Wonthaggi Structure Plan and also preparing a Wonthaggi Activity Centre Plan, the latter describing how the town functions and what is needed in the future.
Making a pitch for the centrally located WSC Senior Campus site as a cultural hub, once it is declared surplus to the education department needs, and before the Victorian Property Group gets a hold of it, is one of the shire council’s priority advocacy goals. And the strategic work being done on the town at the moment will be used to support that campaign.