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Armadale looks at redevelopment authority

ARMADALE could be the next city in line for a redevelopment authority, subject to an outcome of a workshop to establish the best method for revitalising the city.

The news comes just weeks after Midland was granted a Redevelop-ment Authority by Parliament.

Together with the New Living program which is revitalising

run-down parts of the city, the result would be a boon for the local economy.

Armadale City planner John Adderley said the council was watching to see how the Midland Redevelopment Authority unfolded to see if a similar arrangement would be suitable for Armadale.

Under consideration is a bold plan to relocate Armadale High School, shift the railway and bus station and establish a major recreational and entertainment precinct near the intersection of Albany Highway, South West Highway and Armadale Road.

Futuris-controlled Metro Brick would also be removed to make way for high density units.

Mr Adderley said the removal of Armadale High School buildings would free thirty-five hectares of land for redevelopment.

The railway and bus station may be shifted to Jull Street Mall.

Even Jull Street will be examined to see if opening the mall to traffic would increase commercial viability of businesses in the vicinity.

The relocation of the railway line would yield up to six hectares of prime land in the heart of Armadale.

Mr Adderley said it was envisaged the site would be redeveloped for “high order uses” such as multi-level residential units, offices or a combination of the two.

From the City’s point of view, a redevelopment authority provides a much needed injection of funds from the WA Government and private developers.

Authorities also have greater statutory powers than local government which means they can often get the job done more quickly.

This is important when a number of state departments and agents need to be co-ordinated.

However, authorities have put local constituents offside in the past.

Lack of accountability and transparency, whether perceived or real, led to an action group being formed within the East Perth Redevelop-ment Authority’s jurisdiction.

Both the Shire of Swan and the City of Armadale are adamant earlier mistakes will not be repeated.

Mr Adderley said whatever the method of implementation chosen, it was important the body was not seen as a bureaucracy only interested in building.

Both the Shire of Swan and City of Armadale have been, and are, working closely with local communities to avoid alienating them.

The attraction of a redevelopment authority for the WA Government is that they will have a direct influence over how monies allocated are to be spent.

To get a redevelopment authority off the ground, the Armadale council must not only win over the support of its constituents but also win over the Ministry of Planning.

Planning Minister Graham Kierath seems to be sending mixed signals over the future prospects of redevelopment authorities.

He said that if asked two years ago whether Midland could do with an authority he would have said yes, although the ministry had initially knocked back advances by the Shire for an authority.

However, he said he currently could see no other obvious area where a redevelopment authority was warranted.

After the MRA was given final approval, Mr Kierath indicated his willingness to look at more proposals on a “case by case basis.”

Mr Kierath said he personally supported the notion of having just one uniform Act which could be applied to all authorities rather than going through the time consuming task of preparing separate Bills for each authority.

However, he said his colleagues did not buy into the idea.

This, however, begs the question of why he believed a uniform act would be needed unless more authorities were a possibility.

From 1 to 3 December an inquiry by design workshop will be held in Armadale with key stakeholders to prepare a blueprint for ideas, designs and directions for the city centre and the proliferating region.

Following from discussions at this meeting the City will proceed to an outcome report to be made public by late January or early February.

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