NEARBY residents are opposing a plan to lease Mornington Peninsula Shire-owned land in Capel Sound for affordable housing as being in an “inappropriate” location and will cause road safety problems.
The shire last December told Capel Sound residents that land behind Seawinds Community Hub – 11A Allambi Avenue – had been chosen as one of four affordable housing partnership projects to help ease the peninsula’s housing crisis.
The other sites are in Rosebud, Hastings and Mornington.
However, Capel Sounds’ residents have questioned whether the location is appropriate, with concerns the nearby intersection of Wingara Drive (which already services 70 houses and units and will be the main access route to the development) and Allambi Avenue is already “dangerous”, and the project would bring an unacceptable increase in traffic and risk to pedestrians.
The neighbourhood is also home to Eastbourne Primary School and longstanding issues of traffic congestion related to school pick-up and drop-off times, and high volumes of pedestrian traffic.
Veronica Madigan, who has started a Facebook page (Concerning All Residents in Capel Sound) to alert residents to the proposal, said there was also concern about plans to put a road through the primary school and Seawinds Hub, which has a lot of pedestrian traffic and a child care and kinder.
Ms Madigan said residents were not opposed to the concept of affordable housing but believed the site had not been thoroughly thought out, with few details being released.
“The council wants residents to submit their thoughts on this, but they haven’t released any information, such as lot sizes, number of houses or traffic management, so how can we put in a submission?” she said.
“We believe there are other options in regards to sites and traffic management, such as access from Boneo Road, that would not impact on residents.
“We need more information because we have already been impacted by traffic change due to the building of the [Yawa] pool and were ignored when objections were raised.”
Mrs Madigan said there were also fears Rosebud Hospital would not be able to cope with the extra population unless it was upgraded.
“I realise the need for affordable housing, but risk mitigation has to be applied to keep all existing and possibly new residents safe,” she said.
The mayor Cr Anthony Marsh said the Capel Sound proposal was “in the early consultation stage and no council decision has been made yet”.
He said all feedback would help inform the council’s decision-making and urged communities to “have their say”.
Cr Marsh said the primary responsibility for the provision of social and affordable housing – and finance – lay with the state government, but that council would advocate to ensure that “a proper investment is made in social and affordable housing across the peninsula”.
“In the meantime, we are acting on our Triple A Housing Plan 2020-2030 and the community vision by proposing to use council land for housing partnership projects to support affordable housing,” he said.
“At this stage of the process, we are seeking the community’s feedback around their views on affordable housing, the proposed model and important site-specific considerations.”
Cr Marsh said the lack of affordable housing was a “critical challenge” for the peninsula, and the number of people on the social housing waiting list was growing, with half of them assessed as having a priority need.
“We’ve heard stories from the community about pensioners sleeping in their cars, families having to leave their communities due to a lack of affordable rentals, and businesses struggling due to a lack of affordable accommodation for workers,” he said.
The 2016 census estimated that 2346 households (3.8 per cent of all households) on the peninsula needed affordable housing and 11.7 per cent were in housing stress, and expectations that things will worsen as house prices rise. Australian Bureau of Statistics date also show the peninsula is the sixth worst Victorian municipality for people rough sleeping.
Submissions close 14 March.