While the Mornington Peninsula is renowned for its coastal lifestyle and amenity, it’s distinctly lacking in one area: namely, accessible housing. Fortunately, a new project is set to open up this beachside community to high physical support participants – and UPco Associate Genevieve Kour was kind enough to share some of the details.

The project in a nutshell

Situated in Rosebud, The Coast was dreamed up by construction company Balmain & Co to provide specialist disability accommodation (known as SDA), delivered alongside NDIS partners InHab and Aruma. Designed for people with functional impairment, SDA must adhere to specific design standards – which are tiered to indicate a building’s level of accessibility.

Right now, there are only 16 bedrooms on the Peninsula that are SDA designed, none of which are for people with high physical support needs.[1]

“That’s why this project is particularly exciting. It has the highest level of accessibility AND it’s different from the standard group home environment – without losing the community feel. With 4 two-bedroom units, 3 one-bedroom units and a carer’s studio, it’ll nearly double the amount of SDA in Mornington Peninsula. It’s truly the first of its kind in the municipality.”

The process (and its challenges)

When this project first entered our orbit early in 2022, there wasn’t anything in the planning scheme that enabled an easier delivery of SDA unless it was a public sector initiative. So, we lodged a traditional planning permit application. But shortly after lodgement, the Minister for Planning expanded a clause in the planning scheme to exempt more SDA projects from requiring a planning permit.[2]

“We confirmed our project could be eligible, and cautiously put the original application on hold. Then, we really scrutinised the project under a microscope. We needed to be sure it would meet the new requirements before making any hasty decisions. We also addressed some initial design concerns raised by Council in the original application because we wanted the Council to love the design as much as we did. Council was so supportive of our approach (and our rigour!) that it confirmed we no longer needed a permit.”

Why we love this project

Balmain & Co doesn’t do things by halves. With an eye for detail and a knack for considerate design, The Coast far exceeds the minimum standards even in the highest SDA category. The building is brought to life with its coastal aesthetic and native Australian landscaping. Shared units are spacious enough for two, but private enough for solo time. And thoughtful details like the shared veggie garden will allow for neighbourly connection.

“It’s great to see that important community care projects are achieving lift-off. But it was particularly inspiring working with Balmain & Co, who refused to settle for less than the best. And while there’s still a long way to go with SDA, being part of the solution has been an honour – and we hope to advise on many more accessible housing projects in the future.”

Cover image courtesy of Balmain & Co

[1] https://www.ndis.gov.au/participants/home-and-living/specialist-disability-accommodation-explained/sda-finder

[2] Amendment VC226 was gazetted in November 2022 and expands Clause 52.22 (Community Care Accommodation) to include SDA projects that are delivered by (or in partnership with) a registered NDIS provider, and certified by a third-party assessor.