Bring­ing Brunswick style liv­ing to CBD

Wangaratta Chronicle - - News - BY SI­MONE KER­WIN

A COM­MU­NITY meet­ing will be held on Tues­day evening to out­line plans for a so­cial co-hous­ing de­vel­op­ment in Wan­garatta’s Rail­way Precinct.

The Sid­ing, to be es­tab­lished at 5860 Norton Street, is de­scribed as “a dif­fer­ent way of liv­ing”, which will cre­ate a “vi­brant neigh­bour­hood” within a 10 minute walk to ev­ery­thing in the city’s cen­tre, and aligns with the Ru­ral City of Wan­garatta’s plans for the Rail­way Precinct.

Mary Daly, one of the lo­cals in­volved in the project, said it was planned to es­tab­lish six apart­ments, with Airbnb ac­com­mo­da­tion above them, and a com­mer­cial space at the front of the build­ing.

It is be­ing de­vel­oped in con­junc­tion with Breathe Ar­chi­tec­ture’s Nightin­gale De­vel­op­ments, and Ms Daly said the con­cept “brings a bit of Brunswick to Norton Street”.

Nightin­gale has al­ready de­vel­oped a num­ber of projects in Mel­bourne, a cou­ple of them in Brunswick, un­der a model of multi-res­i­den­tial build­ings that are fi­nan­cially, so­cially and en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able.

The co-hous­ing idea in­volves de­vel­op­ing a com­mu­nity which will utilise some shared fa­cil­i­ties, such as a laun­dry and an open space sur­rounded by the apart­ments.

“Peo­ple will have their own pri­vate homes, but the way it’s de­signed, they will be able to in­ter­act with each other,” Ms Daly’s hus­band, Ian Wil­son, ex­plained.

Ms Daly said the ru­ral city’s grow­ing po­ten­tial as a ‘treechange’ des­ti­na­tion meant the con­cept could at­tract multi-gen­er­a­tional in­ter­est.

So far, there has been in­ter­est ex- pressed in four apart­ments, and Tues­day’s meet­ing will open up the project to the wider com­mu­nity, dis­cussing what it in­volves and seek­ing oth­ers keen to be in­volved.

“We think it’s time for a change in hous­ing, and I can see that some­thing like this might roll on into other projects in Wan­garatta,” Ms Daly said.

Ru­ral City of Wan­garatta coun­cil­lor Dean Rees said he was “cer­tainly sup­port­ive” of the project.

“I’m ex­cited by the idea, be­cause it is a new and dif­fer­ent use,” Cr Rees said.

“One of our main fo­cuses is to get more peo­ple into the CBD, so it is ac- tive at night and peo­ple are walk­ing around the cen­tre of the city.”

Cr Rees said the rail­way precinct project cur­rently sit­ting with coun­cil aimed to im­prove the look of the area as an en­trance to the city, and cre­ate cycling links, so the de­vel­op­ment of the co-hous­ing project would fit snugly with its ob­jec­tives.

Among the lo­cal res­i­dents in­ter­ested in the project are Bar­bara McDon­ald and Ro­han La­ti­mar.

“My part­ner is a con­sult­ing doc­tor, so needs to be on call within 10 min­utes of the hos­pi­tal, so this is per­fectly lo­cated, and I have a sus­tain­abil­ity fo­cus, so shar­ing stuff around links in with that,” Mr La­ti­mar said.

Mr La­ti­mar is cur­rently in­volved with a co-work­ing space in Murphy Street, which has a sim­i­lar ethos in of­fer­ing start-ups, en­trepreneurs and other home busi­nesses the chance to share of­fice space.

Ms McDon­ald said she found the project an “in­ter­est­ing way of think­ing about how peo­ple might live”.

Tues­day’s meet­ing will be held at the Wan­garatta Li­brary from 6pm, with sup­per pro­vided.

To RSVP, con­tact Mary on 0419 337 725.

RAIL­WAY PRECINCT BOOST: Ro­han La­ti­mar, Mary Daly, Ian Wil­son, Ru­ral City of Wan­garatta coun­cil­lor Dean Rees and Bar­bara McDon­ald are ex­cited about a so­cial co-hous­ing de­vel­op­ment planned for Norton Street. PHOTOS: Mel Guy

THE SID­ING: This Norton Street build­ing is set to be trans­formed into a co-hous­ing de­vel­op­ment fea­tur­ing six apart­ments, Airbnb ac­com­mo­da­tion on the top floor, and a street-fac­ing com­mer­cial space.

sker­win@ ne­me­

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