The NSW government has unveiled plans for a major redevelopment of a public housing estate in Riverwood, near Punchbowl, which would replace 1,000 aging units with close to 4,000 private and social housing dwellings.
But it is likely to face another round of pushback from residents over the scale of the buildings and the proportion of private housing in the redeveloped estate.
The 30-hectare Riverwood Estate sits just south of the M5 on Belmore Road, north of Riverwood train station, and has been earmarked for redevelopment since 2016. The government initially proposed 6,000 new homes, but this was reduced to 3,900 following an earlier consultation.
A new masterplan, to be released publicly on Friday, proposes buildings of three to 12 storeys and a mix of about 30 per cent public housing and 70 per cent private. But the planning documents stipulate the 30 per cent is a maximum and the final amount will be determined following “engagement with industry during the tender process”.
Riverwood Community Center chairman Karl Saleh, also a Canterbury-Bankstown councillor, said the estate needed to be renewed, but the mix of public and private housing should be closer to 50-50. The community was also more likely to support buildings of six to eight storeys, not 12, he said.
“[There is] a long list of people who need social housing, and we need to address this urgently,” he said. “If we want to bring more people to the area, both private and social housing, we need to put in proper infrastructure. We need this development, but we need it to be the right development.”
The government has fought several battles over public housing, most notably when it sold off property at Millers Point. In this case, the NSW Land and Housing Corporation is promising all current public housing residents in Riverwood they will be able to return if a suitable home is available, unlike those in Millers Point who could not.
The work will be done in stages over 15 to 20 years and is expected to generate about 11,000 jobs and $2 billion in local investment. The finished precinct would also have 4.8 hectares of new or upgraded open space.