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Hamlet coming of age

ONCE regarded as a sleepy fishing hamlet, Mandurah has come of age and is charging ahead to become a regional city of note.

As a city, it has capitalised on its unique natural environment.

Mandurah has long been a popular get away location for Perth residents, has attracted droves of retirees seeking a sea change and first home buyers chasing affordable land.

However, in recent years the city’s growth has slipped into top gear and its social and economic composition is being transformed.

Mandurah, like many coastal locations, has benefited from the coastal push that has been experienced right around Australia. 

Its high level of infrastructure, water playground image and proximity to Perth has ensured the city decent growth.

In recent years this has been further enhanced by the soon-to-be improved transport connectivity between Perth and Mandurah. Both the Perth to Mandurah rail line and the proposed extension of the Kwinana Freeway have made Mandurah a far more viable and attractive location and are enticing more people to live in the regional city, enjoy its many lifestyle features and commute to work.

The Peel region is expected to continue to grow at 4.7 per cent a year between 2001 and 2016 and decrease to about 3 per cent during 2016 to 2031. The region’s population is forecast to grow by 3,500 people per year.

In the past three years investors have recognised the potential of the area and scrambled to buy – many investing in holiday homes that they plan to retire to later in life.  In the previous March quarter Mandurah’s land values grew 26 per cent.

The type of developments occurring in the region today are of much higher quality than the traditional house and land packages seen on the market and are becoming more sophisticated. 

Over the past three years the number of development and planning applications processed by the City of Mandurah has risen from 2,700 a year to 5,000 and the number of building licences issued has increased by 70 per cent.

City of Mandurah chief executive Mark Newman said the rapid growth of Perth had placed it in catch-up mode, to lift the quality of roads, drains, services and recreation facilities.

Visually the development in the city belies the more lacklustre condition of the local economy.

Development and environmental services director Jayson Miragliotta said the city was mindful of placing strong urban growth before economic growth.

Last year the City of Mandurah received $160,000 of Federal Government funding to develop strategies to revitalise the CBD and create more employment in the CBD.

Further funding of $15 million is now being sought to implement identified strategies, including consolidating the flow of traffic away from the foreshore, creating a pedestrian friendly CBD with a strong water focus, enticing people to live in the CBD and attract more business to the area.

Peel Development Commission is also working to tackle the issue of high unemployment in the region. The commission is pushing to have more light industrial land made available and released as quickly as possible.

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