The WA Apartment Advocacy was awarded the coveted Minister’s Award last Friday at the annual Planning Institute of Australia awards, pipping major projects such as Yagan Square, Scarborough foreshore redevelopment and Optus Stadium.
The Advocacy group which was started by property spokeswoman Samantha Reece three years ago has grown from strength to strength with its grass roots initiatives, which provide a voice for those people who choose apartments as their preferred housing option.
Catalysting the first pop up apartment in the nation last November, Samantha has hosted ten groups of people through the Oracle apartments on a unique monthly trial basis, with 100% conversion rate, demonstrating that many myths around apartment living are unsubstantiated.
As a result of the success of this inaugural trial, Samantha will co-host another apartment trial with Department of Communities at the Springs and at Claremont Oval with Mirvac in early 2019.
Ms Reece stated that over the course of the last two years she had volunteered over $140,000 of her time, in recognition that there was a need to provide ongoing education about housing choice.
“The State Government has set an infill target of 47% but how can this occur unless the true benefits of apartment living, as a viable alternative, are demonstrated,” Ms Reece said.
“Our research has shown that 60% of buyers are unsure of apartment living, but the trial and the documentation of the participant’s experiences is a vital element in reassuring people that this housing alternative is in fact a desired and enjoyable opportunity that should be embraced.”
The WAAA has now taken the next step of purchasing a Tiny Home with the aim of travelling across the State to further continue its education programme. The purchase has been made possible with the financial support of corporate partners including Blackburne, Mirvac, Department of Communities, Keystart Home Loans, LandCorp, CHU Insurance, Colliers International, City of Kalamunda, Town of Victoria Park and City of Canning.
Ms Reece concluded by saying that the acknowledgement from industry and government at the PIA Awards demonstrated that WAAA was an essential component in shifting community perceptions.
“There is a need for a frank dialogue about housing choice and I am delighted to champion this cause in WA,” Ms Reece said.
“This movement was started to ensure that there was a balanced representation about apartment living within WA and in order to combat the NIMBY groups who are fuelled by self-interest to stop any kind of density.
“The fact is, as a mature society, we need to offer choice – because the home you are living in now – will undoubtedly not suit you in 5, 10 or even 15 years’ time and on that basis we need to accommodate both our growing population and aging demographic.”