Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Housing plan

- By ZOE MCMAUGH

The developmen­t of up to 21 new residentia­l blocks at Mathoura is being investigat­ed, which could ease housing availabili­ty pressures in both Deniliquin and Moama.

Whether Murray River Council proceeds with the residentia­l developmen­t will depend on financial viability.

Independen­t subdivisio­n estimation­s have been presented to council in a feasibilit­y report, which is not being made public for ‘commercial in confidence’ reasons.

Mayor Chris Bilkey said the developmen­t’s continuati­on would rely on ‘‘how accurate those costings are’’, and an appropriat­e market value.

‘‘When you are developing something like this, the costings are fairly fixed,’’ he said.

‘‘The more expensive the lots are the more viable an investment becomes, but the assumption is that these blocks at Mathoura would be on the low side.

‘‘Prices in Mathoura are about one fifth of the price of Moama lots.

‘‘The next step will involve completing a more detailed business and property market analysis for council’s considerat­ion.’’

If pursued, the 21 residentia­l lots would be created on council owned land bounded by the Cobb Highway and Jones and Mathoura Streets, on the southern entrance.

The initial layout proposes lots ranging from 663m2 to 1111m2, and averaging 945m2.

It is a slight variation on a proposal from the former Murray Shire Council in 2007, for 29 lots between 616m2 and 1,070m2, and averaging 762m2.

Brought to the council’s attention again in April this year by Councillor Tom Weyrich, the 2007 design included some expensive items such as constructi­on of internal roads, closure of existing surroundin­g road reserves that would require infrastruc­ture relocation­s and to realign existing 4m deep sewer.

The new concept design and feasibilit­y has been undertaken to remove all of these aspects and go to a standard design consistent with the rest of Mathoura.

It incorporat­es stormwater retention on the corner of Cobb Highway and Jones Street.

Cr Bilkey said as well as being consistent with the rest of Mathoura, the plan to create fewer blocks of a larger size would also allow council to cater to a specific market.

‘‘Mathoura is in a terrific position to take advantage of the housing crisis situations in Moama and Deniliquin,’’ he said.

‘‘Quite a few people now want to live out of town, and Mathoura’s proximity to the river will be a huge drawcard.

‘‘There is a lot of infill around Moama of blocks measuring 600m2 to 800m2, but we are seeing a lot of demand for land about 1000m2 or more.

‘‘Young families look for that kind of space, and you can get a lot of land for your money in Mathoura compared to Moama.’’

If the blocks are sold by council, it is anticipate­d all service connection works would be undertaken before the sale. It includes access to water, sewerage and power.

It is most likely the blocks will be sold to owner/builders or developers, although Cr Bilkey said council’s role as the developer might also be considered as part of the process.

‘‘Is it in our interests to do it ourselves? That is always a question we ask ourselves.’’

In a report to council, Murray River manager engineerin­g services Jack Bond said council could complete the residentia­l developmen­t in two stages if approved.

He anticipate­s stage one to be the area fronting Mathoura St, where ‘‘simple servicing options’’ are available.

Stage two would front the Cobb Highway, and would involve more complex servicing. It would also include the constructi­on of a service road.

It is unknown when the required further property market analysis will be completed.

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