SENTINEL-TIMES COMMENT

THROW in climate change, coastal erosion, special charge schemes for dusty residential roads, cultural centres and pool funding… whatever you like.

There are two basics of life that you’ve got to have before any of that other stuff matters – enough to eat each day and somewhere to put your head down at night.

And right now, in Bass Coast, we’re not looking after the basics of accommodation.

There are literally hundreds and hundreds of people waiting for public housing here, especially in the Wonthaggi and Cowes areas, and it’s only been in recent times that something is being done.

It’s not just a Bass Coast problem, we get that. The demand for social housing is at crisis point in many areas of the state and while it’s good news that the state government has committed to spending $25 million on social housing here, the authorities need to inject a sense of urgency into the project.

It’s not just social housing that’s needed either.

Because of the lack of residential blocks in all of the main towns across the Bass Coast Shire, there’s been little or no movement in the housing stock, whereby lower-cost housing comes back on to the market, or into the rental pool, as more people move up to a new house on a new block.

It’s just not happening.

And this is an area over which the Bass Coast Shire Council has significant control.

However, while there are no blocks in Wonthaggi, the town slated to absorb much of Bass Coast’s growth, hundreds of blocks are coming on to the market in Leongatha.
Good blocks are available on the eastern side of the town now and the first 23 blocks in a major, new development off Shingler Street have been sold with a further 100 blocks to be rolled out after Christmas.

That’s all part of a 600-lot subdivision there and agents have promised those blocks will be available as demand requires over the next decade, or sooner.
There’s also an exciting release of one-acre blocks ahead for Leongatha, together with a big new retirement village.

Wonthaggi will eventually have thousands of new blocks, but when?

So, in the meantime, will Leongatha steal a march in residential development on Wonthaggi simply for having new home sites available? Only time will tell.