Bent­ley tow­ers over empty sta­tis­tics

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Opinion -

TWO sub­urbs in the South­ern Gazette area make the top five sub­urbs when it comes to empty public hous­ing in the South East Metropoli­tan area.

Bent­ley tops the list with al­most 15 per cent of public hous­ing empty, and will re­main so in­def­i­nitely due to plumb­ing is­sues as­so­ci­ated with the 46-year-old Brown­lie Tow­ers.

Of 232 empty Hous­ing Au­thor­ity homes in the South East Metropoli­tan area, 140 of the to­tal are empty due to need­ing ex­ten­sive main­te­nance.

Out of 587 public hous­ing homes in Bent­ley, 87 are empty; two homes are await­ing oc­cupa- tion while 85 re­quire ex­ten­sive main­te­nance.

Most homes in the cat­e­gory are apart­ments in Brown­lie Tow­ers, putting the num­ber of empty units in the 301-unit block around 28 per cent.

River­vale and St James have 16 and nine empty houses re­spec­tively.

Hous­ing Au­thor­ity gen­eral man­ager ser­vice de­liv­ery Greg Cash said the apart­ments were not di­lap­i­dated, rather im­pacted by or at risk of plumb­ing is­sues af­fect­ing the en­tire com­plex.

He blamed the age of the build­ing for the is­sue and could not con­firm when it would be re- solved. “Hous­ing is cur­rently in­ves­ti­gat­ing the most ap­pro­pri­ate so­lu­tion to re­solve this is­sue,” he said.

A Bent­ley re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion pro­ject an­nounced in 2010 put the sub­urb on track to gain 1500 new mixed public and pri­vate homes in the 25 hectares sur­round­ing Brown­lie Tow­ers.

A lo­cal struc­ture plan for the pro­ject was up for con­sid­er­a­tion in the first quar­ter of this year, but no out­come is avail­able at this stage.

Min­is­ter for Hous­ing Colin Holt said he was not con­cerned with the num­ber of empty dwellings in Bent­ley.

“It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that the Hous­ing Au­thor­ity man­ages more than 36,000 public hous­ing prop­er­ties and at any time a small per­cent­age will be va­cant for var­i­ous rea­sons,” he said.

Op­po­si­tion hous­ing spokesman Fran Lo­gan said the num­ber of empty homes was dis­grace­ful.

He said and Brown­lie Tow­ers was old and re­quired a lot of work.

He called on the State Gov­ern­ment to pur­sue a fi­nan­cial anal­y­sis to de­ter­mine the vi­a­bil­ity of the homes.

“Brown­lie Tow­ers is an old build­ing and re­quires on­go­ing main­te­nance, but to sim­ply leave 85 units empty at a time when the State has over 20,000 ap­pli­cants for hous­ing on the wait­ing list is sim­ply crim­i­nal,” he said.

“What is the Min­is­ter for Hous­ing do­ing? He seems ei­ther obliv­i­ous to the prob­lems or he just doesn’t care.”

Pia van Straalen

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