IT will be interesting to see the reaction of Bathurst locals to news that Housing Plus is planning a multi-million dollar investment in the region.
Housing Plus last week announced that it would be spending $75 million across Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo to build around 220 new social and affordable homes to meet what is clearly a growing demand.
Bathurst has been allocated 47 of the new homes, expected to comprise $15 million of the investment.
Vacant land on Havannah Street has been earmarked for development with Housing Plus project director Justin Cantelo describing it as a "salt and pepper" development.
"We're adopting a 'salt and pepper' approach to this project by making sure that we have a mix of social, affordable and private housing in any given neighbourhood," he told the Western Advocate.
At first glance, it's hard to fault the plan.
It's no secret that housing prices have soared over the past two decades or so and even regional centres such as Bathurst have been swept up in the boom.
And while that is great news for existing home owners it is a disaster for people trying to buy their first home and even more difficult with those on low or fixed incomes.
The Housing Plus model is about providing options for all income levels so what could be wrong with that?
Nothing, you would think, except that when Housing Plus has announced similar projects in Orange they have been met with strident opposition from residents living nearby.
It's been the classic NIMBY reaction - "yes, it's a good idea, but not in my backyard".
Top of the list of residents' objections has been the concern that proximity to a Housing Plus social housing project might impact real estate prices for other homes in the area. And it's hard to escape the sense that a degree of snobbery is also at play, though the residents themselves would fiercely object to such a label.
So will Bathurst residents react as strongly to last week's announcement? That remains to be seen, but if Bathurst wishes to think of itself as a compassionate and inclusive city then we hope not.
There is a need in our city, and others, for more affordable housing options.
Housing Plus is looking to meet that need and deserves the support of the rest of the community to not only make these projects a reality, but to also make them as good as they can possibly be.