A tale of two public housing projects

FINISHED: The Karowa Street housing project will soon have tenants. UNFINISHED: The Bunberra Street complex remains idle until inspections of its structural integrity are conducted. Photos: LEA HAWKINSONE of two controversial community housing blocks of units at Bomaderry – delayed by builders’ financial problems – has been completed in Karowa Street.Meanwhile, the second block in Bunberra Street remains vandalised, fenced off and with only a security guard present to prevent further damage.At the completed units only one street away, gardens have been planted, the site cleaned up, and the second builder appointed, Ed Kelly Constructions, handed over the block of 16 units to the state government last Friday afternoon.Southern Cross Community Housing, which manages public housing in Shoalhaven, will now inspect the completed units to ensure they are ready to allocate to tenants.The Bunberra Street block – which was vandalised when a new builder was not quickly appointed – still awaits a new builder. A spokesperson for the Minister for Finance and Services said yesterday that after inspections for damage and building safety have been completed and work needed is assessed, work will begin again.The projects have been controversial from the start as a result of the then Labor government’s decision to remove development consent powers from the Shoalhaven City Council.The federal government funded the housing projects through the state government as part of its stimulatory economic response to the global financial crisis.Kiama MP Gareth Ward said the then State Labor Minister’s “rushed decision” to approve building, for instance with inadequate parking – only seven car spaces for 16 units – “was the most depressing thing about a project for needy families”.Both builders initially appointed complained they failed financially because the Labor government was not paying their bills in time.After the Coalition government was elected in March last year, Minister for Finance and Services Greg Pearce made a special allocation to enable stalled community housing projects to be completed.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.