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General News

30 August, 2023

Multi-storey units for Atherton CBD

A NEW three-storey block of units, set to be constructed in the centre of Atherton, will deliver much-needed affordable housing stock for the town.

By Robyn Holmes

An artist’s impression of what the new multi-storey units will look like in Vernon Street, Atherton.
An artist’s impression of what the new multi-storey units will look like in Vernon Street, Atherton.

Tablelands Regional Council last week approved the Vernon Apartments project which will provide 27 units that will be offered as rentals by the Regional Queensland Housing Corporation under an Affordable Housing Management Agreement.

The building, to be constructed at 1 Vernon Street, also features commercial premises on the ground floor of the building which could include a food and drink outlet, office, shop and healthcare services.

“This mixed-use complex is a real game changer,” Tablelands Mayor Rod Marti said.

“The 12 one-bedroom and 15 two-bedroom units will predominately be offered under an Affordable Housing Management Agreement (build-to-rent project).

“This development will go some of the way to addressing our local housing challenges, provide opportunities for young people to enter the housing market, and drive investment in the residential development sector.”

Describing the development as “some 21st century affordable housing”, Mayor Marti said the location of the units on the fringe of the CBD was ideal.

“This is exactly where we want this to be – right in the middle of town,” he said.

He is also excited that the project will complement and activate the adjacent Priors Creek Development.

“Major developments like these in our town centre will boost the local economy and create vibrant community hubs,” Mayor Marti said.

“They’ll attract businesses, residents and visitors, and foster economic growth and job opportunities.

“And most importantly, modern infrastructure and recreational spaces will enhance our community’s quality of life.”

Councillors echoed the Mayor’s sentiments at the meeting, saying the new units would urgently needed to provide affordable housing amidst the current housing crisis.

Cr Bernie Wilce said with some people being forced to live in tents or their car, the development was sorely needed.

“I note that this is affordable housing, not social housing and, managed correctly, it will complement what we hope to do at Priors Creek,” he said.

“There are people who can afford to rent but can’t afford a deposit for a house so this gives those people an opportunity down the track to acquire permanent lodgings.”

Cr Dave Bilney said he was pleased to see the State investing in affordable housing which was aimed at those with low to medium incomes who usually worked in service industries.

“I think it’s great and this building will possibly be the first three-storey building on the Tablelands so it may change future landscapes as well.”

However, while councillors lauded the project they also noted a shortfall in parking spaces – an issue raised by the Silo Shopping Centre in a letter to council in which it was noted that there was no avenue for the public to comment on the project because it was code-assessable. 

Cr Peter Hodge said while there was a shortfall of eight parking spaces, the developer had agreed to provide a monetary contribution to council for the creation of five additional car parking spaces in the area.

But Tableland Investments, which owns the Silo Shopping Centre, made it clear they did not agree with the model used to calculate the parking required.

“Respectfully, we submit these assertions will not comfortably provide for car parking demand generated on site,” managing director Kristy Gilvear wrote.

“Furthermore, given the proximity between this site and the expanded car park provided by Tableland Investments at the northern end of Silo Central, there is a very high chance that spill over parking will occur on this land.”

But Development Services executive manager Sean Lisle told council they were satisfied that the parking provided would be adequate and an infrastructure agreement would be struck with the developer to contribute funding to create five car parks in the vicinity.

“It is also appropriate to include a condition of the approval that residents and commercial tenants are to be advised that parking is not permitted in third-party owned private parking facilities in the vicinity of the subject premises,” a report to council stated.

Council approved the project unanimously.

Council also recently approved another block of 10 two-bedroom units at 9-11 Victoria Street, Atherton.

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