Canning – a welcoming and thriving City
OPINION shapers from the government, investment, transport and construction sectors were invited to the Business News boardroom to discuss the future development of Perth’s growing south-east corridor.
City of Canning hosted the event to present the City’s bold development plans, cementing it as a leader in local government and firmly establishing the area as a strategic metropolitan centre.
The first big development is the Canning City Centre Regeneration Program, a 10-year plan which will increase amenities for and attract 25,000 new residents.
Starting February 2019 with the upgrade of Cecil Avenue, the heart of the City’s centre, the aim is to create a place full of activity for businesses and the diverse City of Canning community.
“$76 million will be spent on the redevelopment of Canning City Centre to continue the focus of Canning being a welcoming and thriving City,” Mr Kyron said.
A number of ideas were floated, including the development of railway corridors, elevated rail, and the construction of a solar farm on a former landfill site.
Stockland general manager—residential WA Col Dutton said railway corridors were underused pockets of land, particularly in a difficult residential market.
“Part of our challenge is infill and how we develop around areas such as railway,” Mr Dutton said.
METRONET director Anthony Kannis said he had recently seen the use of elevated rail to remove level crossings in Melbourne.
“The community response to elevated rail varies significantly,” Mr Kannis said.
“With elevated rail you can overcome a number of issues, and it may be better accepted in industrial areas.”
Member for Cannington Bill Johnston was also in support of putting more thought into railway corridors.
“Sydney and Melbourne don’t have much land close to the CBD,” Mr Johnston said.
“They would love to be able to do this, and we can.”
Mr Kyron introduced a number of innovative, planned developments on the City’s agenda.
These included a plaza below Queens Park Station, the trenching and capping of Albany Highway or building a green bridge connecting the City’s centre with the river.
“The preferred option for Albany Highway is trenching and capping,” Mr Kyron said.
“Albany Highway is a hotspot for road accidents and this will reduce that by up to 15 per cent.”
He said research was being carried out and the total cost was estimated to be around $300 million.
A proposed solar farm, with the potential to house 115,000 solar panels, was supported by both Mr Dutton and Charter Hall regional portfolio manager WA Miles Rowe.
“Our company has invested over $30 million installing solar at our retail town centres,” Mr Dutton said.
“We are open to further commercial opportunities and looking to do something similar in WA.”
Mr Rowe said Charter Hall was involved with an investigation of solar energy at its Sevenoaks property and was keen to see further developments around solar in WA.
WA Treasurer and Member for Victoria Park Ben Wyatt said he was glad to see alternative energy on the agenda, with the Geraldton Council also looking at wind and solar options.
“I think this commercial aspect is the next step in the push for solar in the demand for energy,” Mr Wyatt said.
Diversity, not just density
DIVERSITY dominated the discussion, with an emphasis on public education regarding density, product offerings, population growth and business development.
City of Canning director sustainable development Graeme Bride said the City was “open to a range of housing typologies”.
“A planning strategy adopted by the WA Planning Commission proposes a density corridor along Albany Highway and other major roads such as Manning Road and High Road,” Mr Bride said.
“This offers diverse housing options, including up to 18 storeys in our City centre to tiny homes and micro lots.”
WA Planning Commission chairman David Caddy said there was a need for public engagement as to how density could be achieved, as well as the community benefits to be derived through density that was done well.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people picture only the negatives when they think of high-rise buildings such as those promoted by the City of Canning,” Mr Caddy said.
“Canning has a lot to win from price points — people are not as opposed to density as they are in Claremont, for example,” Mr Langoulant said.
Satterley chief executive Nigel Satterley said he had seen a change in affordable housing choices in growth areas recently, with emphasis on innovative design and a mix of clever planning.
“In low-rise apartments there are up to three-storey walk-ups and more one-bedroom dwellings,” Mr Satterley said.
“There’s certainly more product diversity in the suburbs than ever before.”
City of Canning CEO Arthur Kyron said affordable housing was high on the agenda and the City was dedicated to being a welcoming place by reflecting the diversity and cultural needs of its community in its housing mix.
“We recognise there are some gaps in housing options and are working closely with the Department of Communities,” Mr Kyron said.
Georgiou Developments executive director Jon Smeulders said his company was invested in closing some of these gaps and was in the process of developing a one-hectare lot in the area.
“We transacted with the City around four months ago and are currently going through a subdivision process to divide the land into three separate development lots,” Mr Smeulders said.
“We have a commercial arrangement in place with a strategic partner in the care sector to take half the site and we will help them create a seven-storey intergenerational development.”
Diversity was a key word for Stockland general manager—residential WA Col Dutton, who said the City of Canning’s plans were completely in line with the state government and its attempt to increase mixed-use development.
“The backbone of Perth is set in regard to infrastructure,” Mr Dutton said.
“Because of the suburban fabric, challenges are going to be changing the diversity of product.
“I’m not a huge fan of the word ‘density’, I think it’s more about diversity.
“A diversity of offering needs to be executed and advanced.”
Mr Satterley agreed, saying both the City of Perth and WA’s property industry had room to move.
“I think Perth’s boundary to the north, south and east is set for the next 50 years,” he said.
“There is still a lot of work to be done by the property industry with housing diversity in WA because only about 10 per cent of people want to live in multi-residential and high rise, unlike other states.”
Population growth was another hot topic in relation to diversity and density.
“We’re on a trajectory to grow Perth’s population and we’ve got to start planning for it in a more coordinated and intensive manner,” Mr Langoulant said.
“We’ve got to start thinking about how we will accommodate a population up to 3.5 million people and in a way which will use the public transport system more effectively.”
Mr Caddy said space was not a problem for the Perth region.
“When we look at the population targets for Perth and Peel at 3.5 million by 2050, we actually have enough zoned land to accommodate those people,” he said.
“Initiatives such as this proposal by the City of Canning aren’t even factored into that forecast but are most welcome."
CIty of Canning — a place for all people
CITY of Canning CEO Arthur Kyron wants to foster the creation of a thriving community, with strong business relationships and where all people are welcome and culture is celebrated.
Mr Kyron said Canning was well on its way to achieving this with its strong leadership team and council, an optimistic and resilient workforce and an engaged community.
“We have an ambitious plan for the City,” he said.
“It’s a brave new world and we don’t want to sit still and watch things happen, we want to be a part of it.”
At the heart of this plan is a focus on the south of Perth as a central hub or southern CBD, an area that is set to grow by 160,000 people over the next 20 years.
“We want everyone to realise that the south-east corridor of the Perth metro area is where people should be casting their gaze,” Mr Kyron said.
Community is the soul of City of Canning, with current developments aiming to create spaces where people can share their cultures.
“We see ourselves as an arrival city,” he said.
“The Canning community is quite diverse, with close to 50 per cent speaking English as a second language.
“We seek to create a deep personal connection with our community, embracing and celebrating its diversity.”
“It’s time for local government to start coming to the table and making decisions on business, he said.
“All the mechanisms are in place (to get our City planning right) — the technology and policies are in place for us to get things started.”
Member for Cannington Bill Johnston said he encouraged people to spend some time in his electorate.
“It is a diverse community and a very different place to what people might think,” Mr Johnston said.
Investing in business and the community
THE level of investment in the City of Canning is strong, with attendees optimistic there are still many more opportunities to come in the area.
Charter Hall Regional Portfolio Manager WA Miles Rowe said he was seeing a “phenomenal” amount of inquiry for investment in WA, with the east coast market having a positive effect on the local market.
“There’s an amazing amount of demand for commercial assets in WA,” Mr Rowe said.
“Investors understand the risk-value opportunity for WA, compared to the east coast market, and see it as well valued.
“For us it’s about trying to find the right stock locally, which is difficult at the moment.”
Mr Rowe said there was keen interest coming from the Asian market.
“Internationally, we have a couple of mandates from Asian investors at the moment to buy in Perth,” he said.
“Part of the appeal is the cultural connection and a shared time zone.”
This confidence is reflected in the commitment shown by Westfield, which has invested $350 million into stage one of the Carousel shopping centre redevelopment, with another two stages planned.
“Westfield have recognised this as a high-growth area and see Canning as a thriving and welcoming city,” Mr Kyron said.
“Canning has been a strategic regional centre for as long as I’ve known it, yet we haven’t had these sorts of strategic investments.
“It’s about time.”
“We’ve invested around Australia in industrial properties and we’re passionate about seeing industrial areas in Perth have the same sort of diverse amenity that areas on the east coast seem to have,” Mr Weaver said.
Mr Satterley has a long history with the land in Canning, having been involved in its rezoning and development in the 1980s.
He said the City was setting a clear example for other councils, which would be necessary to cope with future pressures such as population growth.
“It’s good to see Canning open for business,” he said.
“It’s also good to see community developments such as this to start Perth’s economic recovery.”
Mr Satterley suggested the City focused on ensuring fast, efficient approvals to further encourage investment in the area.
“There’s innovation in considering that with these major developments there are fulltime council staff dealing with developer certainty,” he said.
“WA needs to focus on the four Is: immigration, infrastructure, innovation and investment.”
City of Canning Deputy Mayor Christine Cunningham said a lot of thought had been put into other parts of Canning as well, with investment opportunities reaching beyond the industrial and retail scope.
“We want to protect our suburban areas outside of the main corridors,” Ms Cunningham said.
“For example, in Shelley, Rossmoyne and Riverton there are a lot of big parcels of land with old buildings and a gentrifying population.
“We’ve been able to put up a big new aged care centre that’s multiple stories and that’s been accepted very widely.
“These residents have told us they want to stay where they are, so they need that sort of infrastructure.
“We’ve had a lot of success with it.”
Taking steps to making business easier
THE minefield that is the local government approvals process was discussed and attendees were asked what would make it easier for them to do business with the City of Canning.
Warrington Property director Chris Weaver said greater consistency was needed across WA and Australia.
“Having invested on the east coast, and navigating through the uniform planning structure in Victoria, it’s much easier to understand than in WA,” Mr Weaver said.
“In WA, local authorities have different sets of rules for what you’re able to do within industrial precincts.”
Mr Weaver said providing a wide range of services and amenity was also important when trying to attract businesses to an industrial area.
He used the example of an oil and gas company that Warrington Property moved from the CBD to a purpose-built facility in the City of Canning.
“You need to have amenities for these businesses and their employees,” he said.
“If we don’t embrace change within the industrial areas and employment hubs, these businesses will end up moving back to the city.”
Nigel Satterley said commercial leadership of the council was important to economic growth.
“Diversifying our economic base, with a greater focus on tourism and events, international education and health services will put our state on the map,” Mr Satterley said.
He acknowledged there were a lot of rules and regulations.
“We want to simplify all of those and remove them where we can, although we are constrained by some of the statutory planning arrangements,” he said.
“It all starts with attitude.”
Georgiou Developments executive director Jon Smeulders said he had found the City of Canning “refreshing to work with” and this culture had permeated through the administrative team.
WA Planning Commission chairman David Caddy agreed.
“To have a plan that is actually being led by council, and to have a council that is enthusiastic about making that plan happen, is so refreshing,” Mr Caddy said.