IN-DEPTH designs for a controversial $180 million Central Wagga redevelopment can now get started after the city's councillors locked in ground rules for the site.
Following Monday night's council decision, Damasa director Manuel Donebus said they will ascertain the next stage of the development and see how the project will take shape.
It is proposed that the Morgan, Murray, Forsyth and Docker streets block will see a complete overhaul featuring 180 residential apartments, 13 three-storey townhouses and new retail and office spaces.
Mr Donebus said they expected "complete scrutiny" once a development application was put to the council.
However, he said any future development must adhere to a strict set of controls regarding height and where it can be placed on the site, and provide detailed traffic and parking strategies that cater for the entire road network, not just the surrounding streets.
"There were people out there peddling misinformation so that has been disappointing. It has been quite a deliberate attempt by some of these people to undermine what we are trying to do there," he said.
"We found that disappointing and we hope this will be looked at objectively moving forward."
Chris Roche, a vocal opponent of the plans, said residents have no intention of challenging the council at a higher level, as they do not believe they have the power to overturn the decision.
Instead, he said residents will be "heavily scrutinising" each and every development application considered for the site after the councillors "ignored" the concerns raised by them.
"We are just local residents up against Wagga's biggest developer with councillors onside," he said. "We're just disappointed they didn't listen to us and our concerns."
Wagga council's regional activation director Michael Keys said the concerns of parking, traffic, height, overshadowing and green space are now etched into the development controls that will be taken forward.
In other news:
Mr Keys said the decision showed the city was open for business and willing to adapt to become a regional capital.
"It is a major step and major change in direction for a city this size," he said. "It is going to attract and provide a choice of housing, choice of facilities and we are ready for people who come from metropolitan areas."
The next step is for the developer to lodge a detailed design to Wagga council, Mr Keys said, which would be released for community feedback.
Speaking at Monday night's meeting, deputy mayor Dallas Tout said it would be remiss not to approve this planning proposal if the city is going to become "the pre-eminent regional city" in the state - if not the country.
"This to me is a piece of the jigsaw. This is another part in a thriving city ready for the future," he said. "There are people who wish to live in a normal, residential three-bed out in Estella and someone who likes living out in a village, but there's an increasing number of people looking for residential options that this offers."