Why whole streets of Aussie families are being kicked out of their beloved homes by council: ‘Move within six months or face legal action’
Williamstown residents face eviction 35 years after area redeveloped Industrial Council says risk to residents ‘too high’ Did you know more? Email email@example.com
Dozens of inner-city families living in an industrial zone face mass eviction after the council finally decided to implement zoning rules changed decades ago.
Residents living at an apartment complex in Williamstown in Melbourne’s inner-west have been ordered by Hobson’s Bay Council to move out within six months or face legal action.
The council now considers the area industrial and claims residents are ‘at risk’ 35 years after the estate was first rezoned.
The Techno Park Drive complex was originally built to house post-World War II immigrants and refugees before being sold on the private market in the late 1980s.
Many residents facing eviction fear they could be forced to live in tents as the country grapples with a housing crisis.
They come from all walks of life, from owner-occupiers and renters to young families, immigrants and the elderly.
Lara Wick bought a two-bedroom house advertised as a home office three years ago and has lived there ever since.
Residents of Techno Park Drive (pictured) have vowed to fight to stay in their homes
‘The council has accepted people living here for decades and we’re not the only part of Hobson’s Bay where the council has accepted people living on industrial land when it suits them,’ Ms Wick told A Current Affairs.
The homes are near a Mobil fuel storage site, which ceases operations in 2021 but has not ruled out renovating the tanks at the site in the future.
Residents have launched a desperate plea to stay and the council has the power to resolve zoning issues.
‘Think of the people,’ urged 14-year-old resident Ernie.
John added: ‘For them to suddenly put a technicolor on a map and tell people they can no longer live in their homes is very devastating.
There are ways the council can fix this. They have the power to allow us to continue living here.’
Lara Wick (pictured) leads the community’s fight to keep their inner-city homes
But not everyone on the council wants residents to be booted.
‘I’m here to support the residents, a decision has been made and in my opinion it’s not right,’ Hobson Bay councilor Daria Kelander told the programme.
‘Evicting people from their homes and making them homeless is not the solution, it’s not right.’
Hobson’s Bay Council vowed to stand by its decision and claimed that rezoning the land would not be appropriate due to significant safety risks.
‘Although Mobil no longer refines fuel at its Altona site, it remains a state-critical fuel terminal and fuel storage facility with a major hazard,’ its statement said.
The risk to the people living in the surrounding area is very high in the event of an accident. It would be unreasonable for the council not to act and ensure that people are not living in the area.
The Techno Park Drive complex (pictured) was built to house immigrants after World War II
Miss Wick has created an online petition to fight the mass eviction, which has more than 600 signatures.
‘The council says the area is industrial, and people can’t live there. But the community exists because the council has decided to accept residential use for decades,’ the petition said.
‘The council’s decision to threaten people with eviction and legal action at a time of housing crisis is heartless, bureaucratic, arbitrary and wrong. It has caused massive damage to people and scared them of losing their homes.’
Residents have been ordered to leave their homes 35 years after the council rezoned the first precinct (pictured) as industrial.