Economic growth in the southern suburbs, including a $300 million expansion of Cockburn Gateway Shopping City, hinges on a $290 million road project being put forward by the cities of Armadale and Cockburn.
The Community Connect South project involves the widening of Armadale Road and a new bridge over the freeway, linking it to North Lake Road.
The project has gained bi-partisan support in the lead-up to the Canning by-election, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Senator Mathias Cormann announcing over the weekend that the federal government would provide $116 million for the duplication of Armadale Road between Anstey and Tapper Roads and the state government agreeing to pitch in $29 million.
However, the commitment was only for the Armadale Road portion of the project, and not the freeway bridge linking to North Lake Road.
Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten has also backed the project, promising $170 million in federal funds if Labor wins the next election.
The project is the result of a long-term collaboration between the City of Armadale, led by Mayor Henry Zelones, and the City of Cockburn headed by Mayor Logan Howlett, with the local government authorities initially planning to pitch it in line with the next federal election.
However, the death of incumbent MLA Don Randall forced the councils into action.
“He was delighted with the idea of taking this forward as an election proposal.”
He said the business case for the road, to which the councils would contribute $36 million, was clear; for the $290 million spend, it would return around $680 million in economic benefit.
Part of those benefits would be the creation of 1,705 jobs and $100 million in local wages and salaries.
Mr Zelones said the road would provide a better link to expanding industrial areas such as Canning Vale, Bibra Lake and Jandakot Airport for the rapidly growing population of Armadale.
“The growth is going to occur regardless, but unless something is done, it’s going to create quite a bit of havoc,” Mr Zelones told Business News.
Mr Cain said Community Connect South was the result of combining the City of Cockburn’s proposal to build a freeway bridge linking North Lake Road to Armadale Road, with the City of Armadale’s plan to add more lanes to Armadale Road.
Mr Cain said the project would also facilitate of re-zoning of two large parcels of land to the north of the Cockburn Central train station, which he estimated would provide a value uplift of up to $30 million, as well as enhance the prospects for a train line extension between Cockburn and Armadale.
Along with the support of two local governments, business interests active in both Cockburn and Armadale are backing Community Connect South.
Perron Group general manager of property investments, Andrew Byars, said the road was vital if the shopping centre owner was to go ahead with a planned $300 million expansion of Cockburn Gateway, which in turn would create more than 1,300 full-time jobs.
“It’s as simple as if we don’t get the bridge, we don’t get the shopping centre expansion,” Mr Byars said.
“Without having the North Lake Road bridge, there’s not enough capacity to get people in and out of the shopping centre.”
Property developer Nigel Satterley has also thrown his support behind the project, urging both the state and federal governments to put it on their priority lists.