19/10/2004 - 22:00

Interests compete to push agendas

19/10/2004 - 22:00

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The pristine Western Australian coastline has always played an integral role in the lifestyle, culture and recreational pursuits of those who live here.

Interests compete to push agendas

With development proposals for some of the city’s best-known beaches facing

hurdles, WA Business News invited some major players in the process to discuss the state of play in coastal development. Julie-anne Sprague and Marsha Jacobs report.

 

The pristine Western Australian coastline has always played an integral role in the lifestyle, culture and recreational pursuits of those who live here.

But despite the largely undeveloped nature of the State’s coastal environment, the more populated centres, particularly near Perth, are under pressure as increasing numbers of people want to own a piece for themselves.

Developers have been quick to try and cater for this demand, in many cases meeting strong, and sometimes overwhelming, opposition from a range of stakeholders.

Some of the main hurdles developers face include unwieldy and outdated town planning schemes, challenges from communities and special interest groups, and a disparity between local and State governments on how development should proceed.

Cedar Woods managing director Paul Sadleir said successful waterfront redevelopments had an overall redevelopment plan that gave them an integrated feel unavailable to developers of single sites.

“The best examples you see of coastal developments are where there is a lot going on and it is all integrated – where council has taken into account walkability, parking … and made sure there are enough facilities,” he said.

“These are the sorts of things that breed success, and that is where developers need to work with councils to put all the parts of the picture together.”

Roberts Day managing director Erwin Roberts agreed that a whole-of-community approach achieved the best outcome.

“If we go back to our roots and ask why places like Fremantle and Cottesloe have been successful, it is because they have a village atmosphere, a range of uses and they relate to the areas that are the attraction – the beach or the port,” Mr Roberts said.

“Perhaps we should look at those and take the values and principles out of those and apply them to our more contemporary development.”

LandCorp CEO Ross Holt said there often was a myopic concentration on the residential or private components of development, and that the beach needed to be thought of as a public structure.

“It is about lifestyle rather than residential opportunities – but, once you do something bad, you can’t undo it,” he told the luncheon forum.

Responding to issues raised at the forum, Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said  that, with property values increasing significantly over the past five years, there was a great deal of commercial interest in the coast.

“We are going through a phase of development where people want to do things differently than prescribed in town planning schemes, and it is a lengthy and contentious process to do that, as extensive consultation is needed,” Ms MacTiernan said.

 

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