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$500m worth of developments approved

HERITAGE battles, councillors’ financial interests, parking, Crawley development issues, a dispute over land at Arden Street, the Swan River Foreshore and dashed hopes for a V8 Supercar Grand Prix through city streets, characterised the year at Perth City Council.

Up to June council had approved more than $278 million worth of developments. Figures for the latter half of the year are not available but a scan of the council agendas suggests another $200 million would not be an unrealistic estimate.

Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass believes the start of works on the Swan River Foreshore was the high point of his year on council.

“After a decade of talk about the foreshore, it is now time to actually do something about attracting people to the area,” Dr Nattrass said.

“The undoubted success of the Bell Tower to provide a focus of attraction should now be enhanced by other features designed to attract people such as board walks and water parks incorporating sandy areas for children to play.

“Council has spent countless man-hours drawing up these concept designs and after public consultation, we intend to work closely with the WA Government to ensure the changes are implemented.”

A grab for Langley Park by the Heritage Council of WA reignited council’s battle against heritage listing.

Council has stuck to its view that heritage listings are overriding the development interests of building owners around the CBD.

It approved several developments that involved the demolition of old buildings around the city, even though its heritage advisor recommended against it.

Parking problems continued to be a major concern for the city, especially since parking approval control has been handed to the Department of Transport.

The Department is trying to limit the number of cars coming into the city. This approach almost halted the development of the Woodside office tower on the corner of Milligan Street and St Georges Terrace.

The Gay Pride Parade caused ructions within council with Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass being the only member to openly oppose the march.

Council approved $13,500 in cash and kind support for the march, providing the organisers could receive a matching donation from Northbridge businesses.

However, Northbridge businesses could not seem to come up with the money. The parade moved to Subiaco, then returned to Northbridge after the Subiaco City Council removed its support for the event.

A parcel of council-owned land at Arden Street, within the East Perth Redevelopment Authority remains a sore point. Council wants the land turned into a park for EPRA residents to enjoy.

The East Perth Redevelopment Authority is pressing ahead with its plans to resume the land from council and build houses on it to make the most of the Swan River views the site enjoys.

Sad times hit the council chamber with the untimely passing of Councillor Noel Semmens.

The former tourism boss who branded WA the State of Excitement, set out to, and partly succeeded in, bringing a higher level of debate to council.

Mr Semmens was also a strong supporter of attempts to stage a Supercar V8 Grand Prix on city streets.

The first attempt put up by Perth V8 Supercar Grand Prix Committee chairman Ross Roberts was refused by council because the circuit would involved too many modifications to the city’s streetscape.

A second race proposal from hotelier Michael Rasheed received council blessing but failed for want of WA Government financial support.

Several Perth City Councillors have been under investigation for breaches of financial interest regulations under the Local Government Act.

Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass said many of these complaints came from within council and were motivated by political means.

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