By Peter Douglas

The consultation period is now open in relation to Yarra Ranges Council’s proposal to sell 67-69 Anderson Street, Lilydale.
In an effort to create more low-cost, diverse housing, the council has identified the location for the potential of developing a higher-density residential area.
Ideally, the council would like a provider to create a high quality design for the site, which would not exceed three storeys but would include about 32 units, with up to five for private sale.
Eastern Affordable Housing Alliance (EAHA) member and Yarra Ranges councillor Tim Heenan said residents living in the development would include people living with a disability, older adults and low-income families.
“Renting in Lilydale is only affordable if you earn over $80,000 per year,” Cr Heenan said.
“Families with children living on one income, or retired women with limited or no superannuation, or those living on a pension, will be placed under stress as too much of their income goes to housing costs.
“Not enough is left for the other necessities of life.”
Cr Heenan said council was keen to discuss the proposal for this site at an early stage and hear local residents’ views.
“I encourage Lilydale residents to come along and find out more about how this model of housing can work and benefit the community,” Cr Heenan said.
“If it’s decided that the land should be sold, the next step would be a more formal consultation required by legislation, and then an expression of interest process to confirm sector interest and determine a preferred housing association or housing provider.”
Cr Heenan said councils were continuing to advocate to the State and Federal governments, urging action to meet the shortfall.
At its Tuesday 24 October meeting, Yarra Ranges Council moved that the residentially zoned parcel of land – deemed to be a surplus council asset – could be considered for the purpose of building social and affordable housing.
The location is also attractive due to its close position to amenities such as shopping facilities and GPs.
Melba Park is less than 200m away and offers a range of high-quality play and recreation experiences and public toilets.
The new Lilydale Lake Playspace, also nearby, offers high-quality play experiences.
Residents are invited to have their say on this proposal and provide formal submissions online via the council’s website during the community consultation period from 13 to 30 November.
To provide feedback, please visit www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/haveyoursay

Lack of affordable housing in Yarra Ranges:
* Yarra Ranges had a 38 per cent shortfall in low-cost rental housing in 2014;
* With no action or intervention, this shortfall is set to increase to 44 per cent by 2036;
* This means community members on the lowest incomes will be at risk of homelessness without access to low-cost housing;
* The median rental in Lilydale is now $380 per week. A one-bedroom unit will cost around $270 per week;
* The average monthly household rental payment grew from $1114 in 2011 to $1363 in 2016. Census data showed a high level of households at risk of mortgage delinquencies (falling behind in loan repayments) in some part of the Yarra Ranges in 2016;
* Affordable rental properties for residents in the lowest income bracket are low (about 10 per cent of all properties in 2014).

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