Friday, 07 August, 2020

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Hobart City Council approves emergency accommodation for South Hobart


Temporary accommodation will be built to help ease the homelessness crisis. Picture: EDDIE SAFARIK

TASMANIAN women facing homelessness will soon be able to find refuge in South Hobart after temporary emergency housing at a local park was approved.

The Hobart City Council tonight unanimously approved the application for 10 temporary accommodation units to be constructed at Wellesley Park, off Cascade Rd, aimed at helping ease the city’s housing crisis.

The 28sqm units will be constructed from shipping containers, with the project funded by Housing Tasmania and operated by the Hobart Women’s Shelter.

They will be located behind an existing Housing Tasmania accommodation facility.

The proposal was assessed against the State Government’s newly created interim planning directive, which allows councils to issue a planning permit for temporary housing under specific circumstances for up to 12 months without having to publicly advertise the application.

Alderman Damon Thomas said a more permanent solution for those facing homelessness would need to be found at the end of the 12-month permit.

“It’s an unfortunate circumstance our city finds itself in and I hope we can move to better facilities than steel boxes,” he said.

Deputy Lord Mayor Helen Burnet said it was a shame there was no opportunity for the public to have a say on the application.

“There’s obviously a need for emergency accommodation in our city,” she said.

“It’s important to move quickly, but this method does reduce the public’s input.”

The council also ticked off its 2018-19 financial statements, which saw it finish in the black, not including the loss of two large assets. The council ended the financial year with an underlying operating surplus of $1.25 million.

This was despite the writing off of two major roads as assets following their transfer to State Government ownership.

“The one-off asset write-off for Macquarie and Davey streets was $67 million,” council general manager Nick Heath said.

The small surplus was also affected by lower than expected parking fines revenue.