ONE of the city's poorest suburbs, which is notorious for its high crime rate and rundown appearance, is set to be transformed.
It was announced in Wagga today that Tolland will be the first precinct earmarked for the state government's regional renewal project, which has a focus on revitalising disadvantaged suburbs.
Housing and Property Minister Melinda Pavey said there comes a time when communities become so rundown that it creates "a feeling of tiredness and at times despair".
But Ms Pavey said the purpose of this redevelopment is an opportunity to change the reputation of Tolland and renew social, affordable and private homes in the area.
"It only takes a local to drive around to know it is not fit for purpose in some respect anymore. There are too many homes boarded up that are tricky to maintain," she said.
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"Let's look at this as an opportunity to get economic activity, better social housing and affordable housing and a new mix of new homes that people want to buy and be apart of in the Tolland community."
Ms Pavey said she understands there might be some anxiety among residents with concerns they might lose their homes, but promised there was no plan to reduce social housing numbers.
"Change does create anxiety, but this is going to be change for good," she said.
Wagga mayor Greg Conkey said this is the start of "a fantastic journey" that will not only transform the suburb, but support the entire city as the population grows to 100,000 residents by 2038.
"It's a journey that will take a number of years, but ... as you are aware, the state government is looking to spend $250 million on the special activation precinct," he said.
"It will increase the population to 100,000 residents in the next 20 years. We need affordable housing and social housing."
The state government is now calling on the community housing sector to express interest in transforming Tolland into a vibrant and progressive housing community, which is connected with jobs, transport and essential services.
Wagga's MP Joe McGirr said this renewal project for Tolland is a concept that the community could look forward to in light of the current situation with COVID-19 and the economic downturn.
"I have spoken a lot about the growth of Wagga and the opportunities that it presents, but I've also talked about having safe and supported communities and this announcement goes a long way into the second part of the vision," he said.
"It is a vision of renewal, but also a community growing and taking the community with them and the benefits of that growth is shared among the community."
Wagga MLC Wes Fang said the partnership between state government and the community housing sector will support the renewal of social, affordable and private homes and the delivery of enhanced open spaces and community infrastructure.
"We want to break the cycle of disadvantage by building safe and stronger communities that provide better opportunities to access tenant support services while creating housing independence," he said.