700-lot housing plan

GRAND PLAN: Paul McMahon, Gary Simonds, Rod Campbell and Craig Niemann view the application.
GRAND PLAN: Paul McMahon, Gary Simonds, Rod Campbell and Craig Niemann view the application.

THE single biggest housing development ever proposed for Greater Bendigo has been submitted to the council.The planning application for a $250 million, 700-lot subdivision at Jackass Flat was yesterday submitted to the council by Simonds Homes.The 60-hectare subdivision, Evergreen Waters, will create 2500 jobs over a seven-year period.Simonds Group general manager Paul McMahon said the development would focus on environmental sustainability.”Land availability is a challenge facing most builders but this will secure land for us and other builders,” he said.“It will be the best subdivision Bendigo has ever seen.”City of Greater Bendigo mayor Rod Campbell said the council had undertaken a considerable amount of strategic planning over many years to pave the way for such an investment.The council’s Residential Development Strategy began in 2004 and provided guidelines for the sustainable development of housing to cater for future growth.“Through that strategy Jackass Flat was identified as the first of four new development areas and a Jackass Flat Structure Plan was undertaken to investigate the economic, environmental, social and cultural needs of the area,” Cr Campbell said. “This was followed by two amendments to the Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme.“Through the Jackass Flat Structure Plan the city aimed to raise the bar in terms of new residential development and sustainability requirements, our approach to open space and the management of native vegetation.“I do believe that the considerable strategic work that has been done by the city over many years to get the planning aspect sorted out . . . this extensive work has played a pivotal role in paving the way for a development such as Evergreen Waters.“The aim of the strategy was to provide clear guidelines for sustainable development of future housing and to cater for the city’s growing population.“A key part of the strategy was to ensure that all future housing developments were of a high quality and respectful of their environment.”City of Greater Bendigo CEO Craig Niemann said that from a council perspective, the planning application was a reward for the strategic work they did.He said the proposal would now go through the proper planning process.“The likelihood is that it will get a positive response from council,” he said. “It’s a really great stimulus for the local economy.”