Perth’s Central Institute of Technology could be the icing on the cake for Northbridge’s reinvigoration. Emily Morgan reports.
Removing the demarcation of Perth’s inner city to include a mix of residential, commercial and retail facilities has long been highlighted as a priority of the City of Perth and the Barnett government.
The inclusion of a tertiary educational facility has also been identified as a way of improving the usage of inner city space and encouraging a vibrant and diverse demographic in the area.
Perth’s Central Institute for Technology (CIT), formally known as Central TAFE, could very well be the institution to offer those opportunities.
As well as an $8.2 million Newcastle Street precinct that houses the institute’s print and jewellery facilities, CIT is currently in the process of building a $59.5 million inner city training precinct on Aberdeen Street.
Earmarked for completion by the end of the year and to be ready for occupancy next year, the building will link with the other facilities of the college in the area and will promote strong ties with the Northbridge business community.
CIT managing director Neil Fernandes told WA Business News the college has been actively pursuing the creation of a campus vibe around CIT rather than the somewhat broken links between buildings in the past.
“The City has been very receptive to our aim of creating a precinct in this area, and that is to change the streetscape to create more of a campus feel,” he said.
“We are talking to the City about Museum Street in particular and how it might change to create more of a campus feel.
“We do see the institute being an institute of the city, for the city and not just an institute in the city.”
The City of Perth recently reviewed the outcomes of the Northbridge Action Plan for 2003-07
and highlighted potential partnerships with CIT in order to encourage and support the growth of the creative industries sector.
Part of that plan was to improve the performance of population-driven industries, such as the exporting of creative industry services by capturing a greater proportion of expenditure within Northbridge.
Mr Fernandes said in this instance, the relationship between City of Perth and CIT is mutually beneficial.
By engaging the students of CIT in studio spaces or with retail opportunities the City of Perth plans to encourage the growth of the cultural sector within Northbridge, making it a viable industry.
This was put into action most recently when CIT and the City of Perth launched a public sculpture outside CIT’s Gallery Central on Aberdeen Street, work that was specially commissioned by the City of Perth to the institute’s art students.
Minister for planning John Day says increasing mixed-use of the Cultural Centre precinct is an important part of invigorating Perth’s inner city.
“Certainly getting more mixed use activity in the CBD is desirable, whether it be additional university facilities, further residential facilities and not having the demarcation of commercial, retail and residential facilities,” he says.
“Fortunately that is changing but I would encourage more of that to occur.”
Mr Day says at the completion of the Perth City Link project, which will be underway in the New Year, three and a half thousand more people will be living in the precinct, with one third of the land area devoted to public open spaces.
“So with the theatre and the Cultural Centre development, together with Forrest Place which is being developed by the City of Perth, and the Perth train station, it will be an attractive and active place for local residents and visitors.”