The revitalisation of the Gosnells town centre during the past 10 years has been recognised with a prestigious international planning award.
Gosnells Mayor Patricia Morris accepted the special achievement award for planning at an international conference held in New York last month.
Ms Morris said the award was an honour, especially as the 2007 competition had attracted the highest ever number of entries from around the world.
“We took a big chance in changing the future of our town centre and I think it has really paid off,” she said.
“The city was facing the prospect of major problems if the decline in business occupancy in the town centre had continued.”
It’s believed the Gosnells project, which started in the mid-1990s, was the first time a local government had driven a major urban regeneration project in WA.
The city lobbied state and federal governments, and converted its $5 million initial contribution into an $80 million government and private investment portfolio.
New facilities such as The Agonis civic complex, Business Incubator, Knowledge Centre, Gosnells Railway Station and the project centerpiece – the Centennial Tree Top Walk – have transformed the tired town centre and significantly increased commercial activity in the area.
A new Gosnells Town Square and the addition of public art have also improved the area’s streetscape.
Ms Morris said the appointment of an economic development manager in 2001 had secured the project’s long-term success by forming more investment partnerships and strengthening its relationships with the local business community.
She also recognised the support of the state government, which partnered the city in bringing about major infrastructure, economic and social change in the Gosnells town centre.
“We have new retail and residential investment, property values have risen, jobs for local people have been created and tourism opportunities expanded,” Ms Morris said.