If you've looked around the Illawarra recently, it might feel like you're in the middle of a building site.
Cranes mark our skylines building new tower blocks in the CBD, and in the nearby suburbs is a knock-down rebuild happening on practically every street.
Go a few more kilometres out and down south, and you'll find pockets of land being bulldozed and sold off. The same is happening up and over the escarpment in Wilton, Appin and Picton. The building trade feels like it's booming in the Illawarra.
News today is that Stockland is looking for expressions of interest is the first stage of its 650-lot development at Huntley, where a new community is being created. The Stockland website promises parks and recreation, great schools and shopping. The houses here are likely to be more affordable than the $1 million median dwelling price in Wollongong, but will the amenities match the influx of families looking to buy?
There's no doubt that the Illawarra needs more homes, and the land is available to expand. But with expansion comes more families and more children. More pressure is put on our local services, which at times already feel like they are at a critical level.
Have you tried parking in Wollongong CBD? Have you tried getting your child into a preschool? Have you attempted to get access to mental health services recently? What about catching a train at peak time to Sydney? (Granted, this has been better during the pandemic.)
It takes time to build the infrastructure needed to support a growing community.
Look at Tullimbar. Residents have waited years for the amenities to follow the housing. Finally, it looks like they will get their much-wanted supermarket, pharmacy, doctor's surgery and even a swimming pool. If it weren't for investors like Diamond Construction and CK Group, we'd still be waiting.
So, as this new land is released by Stockland, we're forever hopeful that the promised infrastructure is provided promptly, because let's face it, if we're going to be the answer to the migration from Sydney, then we need to get prepared.
- Gayle Tomlinson