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Inland Rail has agreed to sign long-term leases on new homes for the usage of employees working on the Narromine to Narrabri (N2N) section of the network.
These long-term leases have given Gilgandra Shire Council (GSC) the financial assurance they required to spend some $5 million on the construction of the new homes.
When Inland Rail construction has finished in the region the homes, to be situated in Aero Park, a largely undeveloped residential subdivision on the western fringe of town will be made available for purchase or rental by local residents with a particular focus on attraction of skilled workers for essential services and local business.
The housing project comes at an opportune time for the GSC region, there is currently extremely low housing vacancy in the GSC area, and it is hoped that in the future these houses will assist in attracting people to work and live in the region.
Given the shortage of available local housing Inland Rail did not want to take much needed existing housing stock for its own employees when they move into the area.
Inland Rail interim chief executive Rebecca Pickering said it was exciting to see the GSC vision come to fruition in partnership with ARTC Inland Rail for this housing development.
“Our commitment to long-term leases will ease the burden on the Gilgandra community for the project’s accommodation requirements,” she said.
“Once these homes are completed and Inland Rail construction completed, they will be utilised to attract other critical workers to Gilgandra.
“Gilgandra is strategically located between two civil works packages, and this housing development will leave a strong legacy for Inland Rail in the district.
“Gilgandra Shire Council should be complimented on leading this initiative to capture an additional legacy from the Inland Rail project for their community.”
GSC mayor Doug Batten said for several years, council had the vision of Gilgandra being a significant construction hub for Inland Rail.
“Housing availability is already an issue in the community and increasing the housing stock reduces the competition with locals,” he said.
“There are numerous well documented examples around the country where locals struggle to get housing when these major projects enter the community, and their arrival has not been planned.
“The project shows both ARTC Inland Rail understand this and are committed to partnering with Council to mitigate this situation.”
This article first appeared on www.railexpress.com.au
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