Boom times are coming

GENERATION Xers if you haven't purchased a home yet you better hurry up – Gen Y start saving if you haven't already.

If current growth rates are maintained, within 20 years the population of the Clarence Valley is set to grow by the size of Grafton City, or more than 15,000 people.

And Clarenza is the suburb most likely to boom according to council.

Clarence Valley Council deputy general manager Des Schroder said the Clarenza area had the potential to be the biggest land release on the North Coast.

“Clarenza has got the potential to be one of the major suburbs in the Clarence Valley,” he said.

Mr Schroder said growth predicted in the Mid North Coast Regional Development Strategy would see 7100 dwellings built in the Valley by 2031.

Housing development slated around Grafton includes more than 1000 dwellings at Clarenza, 800-1000 homes at Junction Hill and 500 lots on the hill at South Grafton.

Down river would see 800-1000 homes at Gulmarrad, 1100 lots at West Yamba (subject to filling), 350 lots at Iluka (when sewerage is connected) and around 200 lots at Lawrence.

“Most of that has been or is in the process of being rezoned,” Mr Schroder said.

He said the Clarence Valley was in a better position to capitalise on the growth than nearby councils.

“We have the water supply, the sewerage capacity and the land,” Mr Schroder said.

“We just need the Pacific Highway and Grafton Bridge upgraded.”

To cope with the population influx, Mr Schroder said the council was constantly working to attract new employment opportunities for Valley residents.

“We are releasing new employment lands at Trenayr and at South Grafton,” he said.

“We are also actively working on moving new businesses into the Valley.”

While council appreciated recent federal infrastructure funding for projects in the valley, Mr Schroder said to sustain growth continued funding would be needed from State and Federal governments.

Predictions by the National Sea Change Taskforce estimate the population in regional areas on the East Coast could grow by 94% or more than six million people during the next 40 years.

As a consequence real estate prices in regional coastal areas are predicted to soar.

Australian Bureau of Statistics growth figures report that by 2050, the NST estimates 13.2 million Australians will live in regional coastal areas.

To put the estimated growth in perspective, the population increase is equivalent to another 12 or 13 Gold Coasts around the entire coast of Australia.

NSCT executive director Alan Stokes said predicted population growth would see capital cities unable to cope.

“We will have around 6.8 million people move into regional coastal areas by 2050,” he said.

Mr Stokes said with growth continuing to accelerate in regional coastal areas, the taskforce would be lobbying the federal government for a fair share of funding for councils.

The development of a National Population Strategy by the Gillard government is under way to cope with the predicted growth.

Federal Population Minister Tony Burke, who is overseeing the strategy, was unavailable for comment yesterday.

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