29/10/2009 - 00:00

$120m investment for South Hedland

29/10/2009 - 00:00

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SOUTH Hedland is set to get a major revamp, with approval for the development of a new town centre and plans for new worker accommodation that breaks with the Pilbara’s traditional approach.

$120m investment for South Hedland

SOUTH Hedland is set to get a major revamp, with approval for the development of a new town centre and plans for new worker accommodation that breaks with the Pilbara’s traditional approach.

The Department of Planning approved the first stage of the town centre development last week – the construction of up to 130 townhouses and apartments and commercial, medical and retail space.

Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said in a statement the redevelopment, which will receive $23 million from the Royalties for Regions program, was likely to include a cafe strip featuring water-misters for summer, an open-air cinema, and extra-wide eaves and tree-lined streets for added shade.

Port Hedland Chamber of Commerce president Bill Dziombak said the revitalised town centre would provide affordable land and housing options to those operating small businesses in South Hedland.

“Rent and accommodation is just a nightmare now, so this is going to open up the whole place,” Mr Dziombak told WA Business News.

An expansion of facilities and amenity in South Hedland was necessary to match the resources expansion occurring in the area, he said

“We’ve got a lot of industrial development; we’ve got a lot of major resource expansion happening here, we now need to see a balance and that kind of growth balanced with social infrastructure, communities, amenity for the town,” Mr Dziombak said.

“It needs to match so that we’ve got sustainable growth here.”

In a related move, Osborne Park-based Rapley Wilkinson has progressed its plans to develop an 11.9-hectare tract of land into transient workers accommodation.

The Department for Regional Development and Lands awarded Rapley Wilkinson preferred tender status by in July.

The proposal, which will provide dwellings for more than 1,000 people, is currently in the feasibility planning stage.

Rapley Wilkinson chief executive Darren Staunton said the proposal, which he estimated would cost more than $100 million once completed, was to build transient workers accommodation that would support the town centre initiatives.

“We’ll be looking at key worker accommodation. It’s not camp accommodation, it’s not full-blown residential, it’s something in between,” he said.

“That will help with the affordability issue, probably not from a residential perspective in terms of owner-occupier stuff, but in terms of businesses being able to afford to employ people.

“The affordability issue comes down to the businesses in town having somewhere for their staff to be accommodated, other than paying $1,200 a week for a one-bedroom unit.

“The intent is that this will provide short-term accommodation not only for the BHPs and FMGs of the world, but also people who run businesses in this part of the town and Port Hedland.”

Mr Staunton said building workers’ accommodation within a town provided a unique opportunity for Rapley Wilkinson.

“There are challenges there in terms of how it looks, and how it’s managed, but certainly by embracing transient workers’ accommodation as part of a town development, rather than try and keep it out, which is what every council has done until now, can provide a good outcome,” he said.

 

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