WORK is going on for 16 "key" sites that could solve a housing shortage and deal with disused land, even if it is not always visible three years after they appeared on a council wish-list.
The list was created by the City of Greater Bendigo in 2016 as potential sites for much-needed high density housing.
Work on most of the projects - which includes iconic buildings like the Gillies Pies factory as well as tracts of vacant land across town - continues in one shape or another, strategic planner Stacey Poulter said.
Some are still close to the start of the process, others have more fleshed out plans, the council has issued still more with planning permits, she said. Vegetation has been cleared or construction has begun on others.
- Former Crystal Ice and Gillies Pies factory, 93-131 Garsed Street, Bendigo
- Former Poyser Motors Site, 153-155 High Street, Bendigo
- Former Coliban Water site, Alder Street, Kangaroo Flat
- 680 and 708 Calder Highway, Maiden Gully
- St Lawrence Court site, 106-114 Upper California Gully Road, California Gully
- Lansell Crest, 39-51 Lansell Street, Bendigo
- Former Symons Dairy, Thistle/Lily Street, Bendigo
- AdventCare site, 386-392 High Street, 27 and 29 Bay Street and 11 Alamein Court, Golden Square
- 244 Edwards Road, Maiden Gully
- Former teachers college, 2 Osborne Street, Flora Hill
- Former Central City Caravan Park, 362 High Street, Golden Square and YCW foodball ground, 19a Fir Street, Golden Square
- Former mine at 9-43 Chum Street, Golden Square
- Southern Cross Austereo site, 2-20 Chum Street, Golden Square
- 48 Hopetoun Street Bendigo
- Former Murchison Mine, 153 Sailors Gully Road, Eaglehawk
- Former Dai Gum San Mine, 12-28 Cunneen Street, Long Gully
The council wants the sites developed not only because they would be close to public transport and existing shops, but because more housing could help ease the affordability crisis facing Bendigo's most vulnerable people.
It is preparing to release a draft affordable housing paper soon and the insights gathered so far paint a concerning picture, regional sustainable development manager Trevor Budge said.
"Even though prices are low we have a lot of poverty in Bendigo and a lot of people would struggle to enter the market, whether by renting or buying," he said.
The sixteen sites listed in the 2016 Housing Strategy will not be the focus of the upcoming report but they could be part of a wider solution to a lack of smaller houses and units.
Fifty-five per cent of Bendigo's households only hold one or two people, even though much of existing houses have three or four bedrooms.
The mismatch hits vulnerable people the hardest because so many of them are part of one person households, Mr Budge said.
"People still think that the standard household is mum, dad and three kids. No it's not. That might only be true for 30 per cent of households," he said.
While work is taking place at most of the 16 sites on the list, the council only has a limited role to play in guiding them, Mr Budge said.
All are owned privately or by other levels of government.
Many pose particular challenges for developers, and not only because of their size.
Some are former mine sites where contamination needs to be tackled or are at risk of flooding, for examples.
Some, though, are making significant progress, Mr Budge said.
That includes Bendigo East's Lansell Crest, where a developer wants to put 104 units on a 2.6 hectare site.
The council's planning scheme was amended in 2018 to effectively remove the cap on dwelling numbers at the sit, paving the way for Bendigo's first large-scale medium density housing project.
"The developer hasn't actually built anything yet but it's got its approvals, so it can go ahead," Mr Budge said.
It can take years for developers to develop plans, and to decide on layouts they are happy with.
A former teachers college in Flora Hill's Osborne Street could one day be transformed into into housing, but the council's negotiations with owner La Trobe University about exactly what goes there is yet to finish.
They have locked in the section of the site where housing will go, however, which is promising, Mr Budge said.
"So yes, that's potentially happening," he said.
Progress has been slower at other sites, including a 1300 hectare area at Chum Street.
"We've done a lot of work with the state government ... because there are severe constraints on part of the site," Mr Budge said.
"It has a lot of mining history," he said.
"We continue to have discussions with the Department of Health and Human Services and with some housing providers about how that site might be developed. But it's a work in progress, we'll put it that way."