Red tape is hindering plans by Margaret River locals to build tiny houses for the homeless, the local rotary club says.
- The tiny houses will be about 45 square metres, or the size of a small apartment
- The local rotary club is leading the project and has support from the community
- The state government is yet to determine the future of the barracks site
It comes as housing shortages in the region leaves local workers competing with tourists for tent sites at caravan parks.
The Margaret River Rotary Club (MRRC) is leading a proposal for the construction of 10 small houses, each with about 45 square metres of living space, at the historical Railway Barracks site.
The club, with the backing of housing advocacy groups, wants to secure the lease of the land from the state government.
Each stand-alone houses would offer about 45 square metres of space, the size of a small apartment.(Supplied: Chris Willcox architect)
Pro bono support secured
There have been various proposals for community housing on old railway land on Clarke Road over the years.
But the rotary club said it wanted to take the first steps towards raising funds for a village and had secured the pro-bono services of an architect and builder.
The heritage listed Railways Barracks would be restored as part of the project.(ABC South West WA: Anthony Pancia)
Charles Johnson from MRRC said the unallocated crown land was on a long-term lease to the son of the former station master and he no longer wanted the lease.
He said tiny houses would be a community led-approach.
“We know there’s a large problem with homelessness and people at risk of homelessness,” Mr Johnson said.
“It’s lazy land, if you like. We know the shire doesn’t want it for any recreational purposes.”
He said the heritage listed Railways Barracks, which dated back to the 1920s, would be restored.
Social services group Accordwest chief executive Evan Nunn said the organisation would provide in principle and in kind support.
He said a similar tiny house project in Bunbury was working well.
“The tiny houses [projects] work because they help people get on their feet,” Mr Nunn said
Housing response needed
The project is not yet fully costed, but Mr Johnson said each of the units would cost about $130,000.
The small houses will be used to provide housing for older women facing homelessness.(Supplied: Chris Willcox architect)
He said they wanted to raise funds through the rotary, the community and private sector, and not the government.
But Mr Johnson said getting the government to agree to in principle support to transfer the lease on what was essentially disused land, had been frustratingly slow.
“We’ve been in touch with the government for nearly six months now,” he said.
“We’re hoping in some way there can be a priority given to this project, given that there’s an urgent need to provide this form of housing in Margaret River.”
Wanting to help
Labor’s South West MLC Jackie Jarvis said she had met Rotary and Accordwest to discuss their proposal to create community housing at the site.
But she indicated the process was complex.
“The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage is working through the process of considering the site’s future,” she said.
“Noting the extensive complexities of the site, there is still a way to go until that process concludes.
“The McGowan government is delivering a record investment into social housing, and I will continue to support opportunities to boost local housing supply.”
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