Village aims to ease Coral Bay housing crisis

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Tom ZaunmayrPilbara News
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The NLV village in Coral Bay.
Camera IconThe NLV village in Coral Bay. Credit: Pilbara News

Planning is to begin in Coral Bay to alleviate the accommodation shortage that has resulted in 75 per cent of the town’s families leaving in the past five years.

As revealed in the Pilbara News in February, only four families remain in town, and many of those who have left have made financial commitments elsewhere.

The State Government allocated $2.92 million in funding from the 2017-18 Budget towards completing head works on lot 308 to facilitate more rental accommodation for workers.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the State and Baiyungu Aboriginal Corporation had begun planning with a view to start constructing the village in the next 12 months.

“It is important we make sure the place is functioning well, that people working there are given opportunities for proper accommodation,” she said.

“In the long term (two more lots) are able to be started and we will have to work out how they will be allocated and how we can ensure people working there have an opportunity to participate.

“In time ... some of the shanty town-style development will have to go once we have provided proper accommodation.”

BAC village project director Noel Bridge said the next stage would deliver 30 beds, with about 90 possible in future stages.

”The recent commitment by the State ... is a welcome change and we are eager to get going as quick as possible,” he said.

“We are hoping there is the demand, and that is based on the current backlog of interest in the village we have at the moment of about 20-25 people.

“Depending on the next stages of developments in Coral Bay by landholders such as RAC and the caravan parks, there could be additional requirements.”

Coral Bay Progress Association president Frazer McGregor said the announcement was welcome, but the big picture needed to be kept in mind.

“The projected number of staff down the track is 450 to service 5000 tourists in town,” he said.

“I am concerned the land at some point could be used for something else, like holiday homes.

“That block needs to be kept to house the entire 450 workers expected to be need.”

Mr McGregor said as housing improved, so to would the quality of workers, which in turn would improve the visitor experience to Coral Bay.

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