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Current Forest High site a 'blank canvas' for housing solutions

Michael Regan MP is calling on the Premier and the State Government to take advantage
of Federal Funding on offer to increase housing supply in the Frenchs Forest area.

The Independent Member for Wakehurst is urging the Government to maximise the full
potential of the soon to be vacated Forest High school site when staff and students
relocate to the new site in Allambie after its completion in early 2025.

Mr Regan says the site represents a "unique opportunity" for the State Government
(who owns the site), to develop genuine affordable housing for a range of service

"Imagine a development there that provides much needed housing for school teachers,
bus drivers, nurses and so many others where we are now seeing the shortage of these
professions take hold and impact services. The State Government has a unique
opportunity to use the money from the Federal Government to help deliver a far more
superior development that will be beneficial for generations to come and not just line
the deep pockets of yet another developer."

Mr Regan says the provision of genuine affordable housing for targeted occupations
could go a long way to relieving significant workforce shortages across the Northern

"We know that local public schools in particular are unable to attract staff to vacant
positions purely because of the cost of housing - as a result many of those positions
remain vacant, with other teachers picking up the shortfall adding to their already huge
workloads. We also know bus drivers cannot afford to live here now and we are suffering
a loss of services as a result. We see it across the board in really essential services -
firies, police officers, cooks, cleaners, nurses and child care workers... so many potential
workers unable to afford to buy or rent here. We have a workforce shortage and this
school site provides a perfect opportunity to help address this growing and serious
problem. The Government has a moment in time and a blank canvas to build something
substantial and impactful for the people of the Northern Beaches."

Currently the zoning for the school site allows up to 12 storeys which is the current size
of the neighbouring hospital. The zoning allows for a mix of residential and commercial
space with the controls stipulating there must be a minimum of 15% of the new
development to be dedicated as affordable housing.

Mr Regan says that minimum can and should be exceeded. "I'm saying they should be
delivering at least half of the site as affordable housing, and not the minimum 15%. Let's
aim for 50%. And let's not forget about Seniors either where there is a desperate
shortage of quality and affordable seniors living. It could be a great mix in a new Town

"This blank canvas provides a perfect opportunity for the State Government to make a
statement that they are serious about delivering affordable housing. They just need to
put in a DA, comply with the relevant Town Centre Controls, use the funding on offer
from the Federal Government and get cracking."

"I urge the Premier and his cabinet to look seriously at this site as an opportunity not to
miss and help resolve a growing crisis in our local area. These opportunities don’t come
up very often and the government must seize it. The feds have put the money on the
table, now is the time to strike to make the most difference."

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