Business groups continue to rail against station plan

A NEW city station at the west end of the CBD will support the swell of commercial development and the inevitable westward thrust of the business district.

The Perth City Rail Advisory Committee has delivered its findings to the Government and recommended a route for the Perth to Mandurah line different to that advocated by Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan.

Despite this result, Ms McTiernan believes the route down William Street remains the best option, and so she has turned to the public for its input.

Numerous professional bodies have been very vocal in their criticism of the Government’s delivery of the initial Perth to Mandurah rail plans, the Property Council among them.

Property Council of WA chief executive officer Joe Lenzo was part of an industry group formed to pressure the Government into undertaking consultation.

The action appears to have delivered a favourable outcome, however the Government won’t make a final decision for another month, so the Property Council is still on the campaign trail.

The Perth Rail Advisory Committee undertook a study of three different routes for the train line to run through the city.

The eastern option, whereby the line would run through the east end of the CBD, was the committee’s preferred option, however this has been ruled out by the Government. This leaves two other choices: the William Street route, with an under-ground link to the existing city station; or the western option, with the rail line running up the freeway and linking into the existing city station through the Entertainment Centre car park with a station on Elder Street opposite Parliament House.

The Property Council’s support for the western option reflects its concern that construction of a tunnel up William Street would create significant disruption in the city.

“Primarily we feel the William Street option has no discernible advantages and, most importantly, it would disrupt the central city for an unacceptable period – it could be anything between eight and 18 months,” Mr Lenzo said.

“The western option still brings people into the city because it links into the city station.

“The CBD is certainly moving westwards, so it (a new station) creates a nexus between the western development of the CBD and West Perth.”

Government figures estimate a station in the west of the city would deliver an additional 8,000 commuters.

However, the Property Council is not completely opposed to the William Street option. In fact, if construction could be undertaken with relatively little disruption, the Property Council would be prepared to consider it.

“I think the Government is well aware of the fact it made a decision with very little public consultation and it’s not going to fall into that trap again,” Mr Lenzo said.

Australian Institute of Urban Studies chairman Paul Drechsler spearheaded a group of professional bodies that put pressure on the Government to listen to the local professional bodies before making any further decisions.

“We weren’t too happy with a new station only 100 metres from the existing station,” Mr Drechsler said.

“We like the idea of using the full railway infrastructure and it’ll encourage development and make the western end of the city more vital.”

Planning and design consultants Hames Sharley are currently involved in a parliamentary precinct study that will develop a master plan for the area and development options in the western end of the city.

“It’s (a new station at the western end of the city) producing a more sustainable city by allowing a new group of people access to transport,” Mr Drechsler said.

Several major commercial developments at the western end of the city support Mr Drechsler’s conviction that the western development push supports the location of a new city station in the Parliament House precinct.

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