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Foreshore focus as Geraldton development plans take shape

THE State Government’s recent $88 million commitment to the Southern Transport Corridor in Geraldton will catapult the Mid West city into a period of rapid transformation and growth.

The construction of the corridor is intertwined with a series of projects focused on revamping the Geraldton foreshore, the city’s greatest asset.

Stage one of the Southern Transport Corridor will be built over the next five years and, once completed, will provide new road and rail access to the Geraldton Port.

The new access route will mean the existing rail route, which runs between the foreshore and the city centre, will be decommissioned and eventually removed, a move welcomed by the City of Geraldton and the Mid West Development Commission.

“The railway line is a very visible barrier between the business district and the foreshore and its removal dovetails with the foreshore redevelopment,” Geraldton City Mayor Vicki Petersen said.

“The Foreshore Redevelopment is still in the concept phase but will involve a lot of public open space, jetties and boardwalks, where we hope to locate shops and commercial operations.

“We also want to turn around the shops on our main street so that instead of facing the street they face the foreshore.”

The natural elements of the foreshore also will be given a facelift, with plans to reclaim land and reshape the beach using the earth excavated to make way for the Southern Transport Corridor.

Ms Petersen estimated the foreshore redevelopment, which focused on the 800m stretch of beach between the Geraldton Port and the Batavia Coast Marina, could cost up to $10 million.

Mid West Development Commission senior project manager Jackie Healy said the removal of the existing line would allow the Batavia Coast urban renewal project to move ahead.

Ms Healy said the four-hectare stage two of the residential and commercial project would be planned around the removal of the railway line.

“The private sector is moving forward with the development of stage one of the project … but stage two really is scheduled around the corridor and relocation of the railway line because we can’t make any land near there available for sale until that is done,” Ms Healy said.

Most of stage one of the development has been sold, with only seven of the 23 lots remaining, and plans for the area include a new hotel and a commercial, retail and residential precinct, totalling more than $50 million.

The Kareelya Property Group will soon start construction work on a $45 million four-star hotel, a $7.5 million commercial centre and a residential village near the picturesque foreshore. The corridor, and improved transport infrastructure, has provided further incentive for the City of Geraldton to dredge and deepen the port.

“Dredging the port would allow bigger vessels to come into Geraldton, and for economic reasons that is very important,” Ms Petersen said. “Also, the fill from the dredging would be used to provide the final sandy layer on the reclaimed foreshore beach.”

The local education sector also has been included in the spending, with a new TAFE Marine Education, Training and Research Centre planned to be located on the rejuvenated foreshore and a new university also in the works.

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