6 December 2022

Building hope: Tolland Renewal Project marks first regional large-scale estate transformation of its kind

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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people at estate launch

BlueCHP chief financial officer Matthew Whiteley, Bittibee strategy and growth manager Clive Morgan, LAHC executive director Peter Brackenreg, Member for Wagga Wagga Dr Joe McGirr, Aunty Mary Atkinson, Argyle Consortium chief executive Carolyn Doherty, Aboriginal Housing Office chief executive Famey Williams and Wagga Mayor Dallas Tout at the Tolland Estate Renewal Project announcement. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Wagga’s long-awaited housing project is officially underway, and will provide a mix of social and affordable housing in Tolland.

The Tolland Renewal Project will see the housing estate in the suburb deliver 500 new mixed-tenure homes across the renewed Tolland Estate. Some 180 of them will be new social housing that is set to fit other affordable and private housing seamlessly.

The NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC), Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) and the Argyle Consortium have signed an agreement to deliver a 16 per cent increase in new social housing within the Tolland and Duke of Kent Park precincts.

Member for Wagga Wagga Dr Joe McGirr said he was excited to start the new journey of the renewal project of the Tolland precinct.

He said the project was not just about housing renewal but also “renewal of the physical environment, the roads and the landscape around them”.

“It’s also about renewed support for the people living in those communities,” Dr McGirr said.

He said the importance of housing had become stark in the past year how critical it had become across regional NSW.

“We are feeling that in our electorate here,” he said.

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“The project comes at an excellent time because it will see an increase in social housing and an increase in housing overall.”

He said through the redevelopment, the landscape would be improved and those in social housing would have renewed support structures and renewed wraparound services to ensure families had the best chance in life.

Dr McGirr said he had been advocating for the renewal project since he was elected.

He acknowledged the work of former Argyle Housing CEO Wendy Middleton, whose vision was a key part of moving the project forward.

“Sadly, Wendy passed away earlier this year, but I am sure she would be delighted by this news.”

LAHC executive director Peter Brackenreg said the redevelopment was not just an LAHC project but a collaborative effort.

He said the project was the first regional large-scale estate transformation for the land and housing community.

“We want to see that new social housing mix seamlessly into new streetscapes so that there is a diversity of housing in areas,” Mr Brackenreg said.

“We don’t have an over-concentration of social housing, but rather a mixed-tenure community that worked very well in interstate renewals in Sydney.

“Diverse housing helps to create diverse communities.”

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Argyle Consortium chief executive Carolyn Doherty said her predecessor (Wendy Middleton) had started the project by trying to find a solution for a young single mother who was living in a car with her children.

The mother was offered a home at the Tolland Estate, but she refused and said she wanted to be in a community where she could feel safe raising her children.

Ms Doherty said the renewal project was about providing homes that “are fit for purpose and help create a healthy community”.

“We are excited to be part of a new generation of social housing in regional NSW that looks to deliver opportunities to the next generation,” she said.

“Thank you to everybody who has helped to share and drive Wendy’s vision. Although she’s no longer with us … I think she’ll be looking at us today very proud and smiling.”

The project works will be led by LAHC and involve the development of new vacant lots for sale to the private market and new blocks for social housing.

It will also include the development of upgraded and new community infrastructure including roads and open space, to completely revitalise the area, similar to other estate renewal projects being delivered across Sydney and regional NSW.

The Argyle Consortium is made up of community housing providers Argyle Housing and BlueCHP, and Aboriginal community housing provider Birribee Housing.

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