Accommodation action for construction worker influx

CLARENCE Valley Council has moved to open the way for more accommodation options to house the workforce coming to the region as part of the construction boom in the next few years.

Faced with workers potentially flocking to the region for the highway upgrade, the second bridge at Grafton and the prison at Lavadia, the council has received a report recommending the addition of 'workforce accommodation' as a category in the Clarence Valley Local Environmental Plan 2011.

'Workforce accommodation' could possibly include the construction of temporary housing camps.

A report presented to the Environment, Planning and Community Committee this week says the council needs to initiate action now.

"Council has received several recent enquiries including Development Management Unit (DMU) meetings regarding provision of workers' accommodation for the Pacific Highway upgrade," it stated. "The Pacific Highway upgrade is but one of several other major infrastructure/construction projects scheduled in the period 2015/16 to 2019/20.

"Whilst there may be a degree of speculative nature to these enquiries, they do indicate a market demand or need for such accommodation to supplement the more conventional housing forms."

The report says that given the area's traditionally low residential vacancy rates, it is reasonable to assume there is potential for market imbalances to occur during and post construction.

The most benefit from worker developments would come if they were located close to established towns so potential business benefits were not lost.

The recommendation to start the process to update the LEP was approved unanimously at the committee meeting and will now go to next week's full council meeting.

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