WAGGA’S northern suburbs have boasted the second-fastest growth rate in regional New South Wales, despite a controversial recommendation for development to cease in Estella and Boorooma.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on Friday revealed the population in the city’s northern district has risen at a rate of 5.1 per cent in the last year.
Wagga has also continued to boom with a growth rate of 1.2 per cent – now nearing a population of 65,000.
The report has brought the findings of council’s landmark transport study into disrepute.
The $240,000 transport blueprint suggested any more “residential development north of the river will likely have a significant negative impact on the city” and Wagga would be “worse off” if commercial retail development followed suit.
It is believed the newly released population data may re-shape the study.
“Since the traffic studies were put out for public comment, staff have work shopped strategic priorities and key projects with industry, local experts and the community to facilitate appropriate growth in the north,” Mayor Greg Conkey said.
“This news comes at a time when we are planning for our community’s future needs and will help ensure infrastructure and services can match the growth.”
Raine and Horne Real Estate Wagga director Grant Harris was not surprised by the statistics, claiming demand for family homes necessitated new housing in Estella and Boorooma.
“There’s very little land left on the south side of town, so supply and demand rules dictate the north will expand,” Mr Harris said.
“In my opinion the demand is for larger lots to accommodate families, which at the moment means Estella and Boorooma.
“It's becoming a haven for young families and development must be allowed to continue.”
Estella and Boorooma residents have to cross the Gobba Bridge to buy milk.
Former Greens councillor Kevin Poynter has long championed higher density housing in Central to reduce Wagga’s reliance on cars.
“People should submit good reasons to encourage development north of the city rather than shouting about it,” he said.
“Instead by having more housing in central, it would mean people leaving for work would be more inclined to walk or ride bikes.”