06/12/2005 - 21:00

Government holds all cards

06/12/2005 - 21:00


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If the recently unveiled plans for the redevelopment of Perth’s foreshore sound familiar, they should.

Government holds all cards

If the recently unveiled plans for the redevelopment of Perth’s foreshore sound familiar, they should.

Foreshore development has been proposed 10 times in the past 20 years, and while the latest proposal by the City of Perth has generated some interest, the proposal is reliant on state government funding, and the government has indicated it has own plans for the foreshore.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan told WA Business News the state government was committed to developing the foreshore land, but was undertaking its own studies into road requirements for the area.

“The reason we haven’t come up with a plan is that we are trying modelling to get the road requirements right for the area, so we can have the best possible development,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“We have a capacity to rethink the road requirements, and our view is that rather than proceeding with the design work, we will go back to basics.”

The City of Perth’s proposals will certainly be looked at, according to Ms MacTiernan, who said the development would happen within this state government’s term.

“This will happen within our term of government, but has just taken a little more time than expected because of what has happened with works in that area,” she said.

Any development of the foreshore would be mixed use, including residential, with a lot of activity, Ms MacTiernan said.

While participants in the WA Business News forum agreed that foreshore development was an important part of bringing new life to the city, Australian Hotels Association executive director Bradley Woods pointed to a lack of direction regarding waterfront development.

“We need to rejuvenate and bring some activity down to the waterfront. Richard Court and Shane Crockett started the process, but we are missing leadership at a whole range of levels, at industry and political levels, to bite the bullet and upset a few who get upset about changing the aspect of the waterfront,” Mr Woods said.

In recent years Melbourne has rejuvenated its core as a pedestrian hub, and the city is frequently cited as one that Perth should aspire to emulate in terms of urban fabric, lifestyle and liquor laws.

Danish architect Jan Gehl recently won an urban design award for his work with the City of Melbourne for helping guide the transformation of the city. The same architect was commissioned by the City of Perth in 1994 to come up with a report, ‘Public spaces and Public Life in Perth’.

The report contained eight key points to creating life in the city: capitalise on Perth’s unique qualities; expand the heart of the city; reduce car traffic in the city; bring the river and city together; create a better city to walk in; create a better city to stay in; create a lively and safe city; and create a beautiful city.

Even as far back as 1994, foreshore development was an integral part of Mr Gehl’s plan.

Most of these points are frequently echoed by those arguing for improvement to the city, but for the most part, progress remains elusive.


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