MEETING PLACE: Elizabeth Quay is one of the state government’s flagship CBD regeneration projects. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Perth CBD needs a new plan

The state government has spent $3.5 billion over the past decade in the CBD and the Swan River foreshore, generating an expected $8.2 billion worth of spending by the private sector, but making all the pieces work together remains a significant challenge.


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West Perth
The solution? Renew old buildings with residential development. All sizes from studio to four bedroom properties. Follow the Housing Authority lead and sell properties with one or no car parking spaces so people living in the City enliven it. It isn't rocket science.Let's have a city with life after office hours.

And make the accommodation affordable. People who are wanting to move into the CBD want the convenience of not having to go too far to work, but in the end they are giving up what is known as the Australian Dream - a backyard, large house etc. A city apartment is small and expensive. Average 2 bedroom apartment is $500k, which can get you more bedrooms, a backyard, garage and not in a confined space. Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane is roughly $380-400k for 2 bed, 1 bath, 1 car space.

East Perth
Mr Iacomella raises some very good points about the Perth CBD and I agree that plenty more needs to be done to complement the major capital works projects discussed in this column. However, we need to get over this Monday to Friday 9-5 mentality if the CBD is to continue to develop and mature. Office workers shouldn't be considered the "mainstay of the CBD retail and eatery sector". Thousands of people now call the CBD home - not to mention the many visitors in the hotels - and it's frustrating to see so many retail outlets and eateries close in the afternoon because since the office workers are on their crowded train back to the suburbs, there's no one to serve anymore. Good luck getting a coffee past 4pm. This needs to change and it shouldn't be that difficult to fix. Perhaps the State Government and the City Of Perth can encourage these businesses to stay open longer. How about late night trading not just on Friday night, but also Thursday and Saturday nights. It's embarrassing walking down Hay Street Mall at 6pm on a Saturday, I was expecting tumbleweed to bounce across the pavement. A trial of some sort (with adequate promotion) in the summer would be a start. The Perth CBD needs to be given some sort of special "retail designation" because it is the capital of this state and the focal point of this city. This will be the ideal way to compete with the suburban malls undergoing multi-million dollar facelifts. Mr Iacomella also mentioned the light rail through the CBD which would be fantastic, but with the stadium opening in 2018, isn't it time to enhance the ferry service and expand it beyond Elizabeth Quay and Mends Street? It would be great to hop on a ferry from the Quay to the new stadium and even Claisebrook. Lastly, the Building Upgrades Scheme sounds like a terrific idea to rejuvenate the eastern end of the CBD - see Murray Street east of Barrack Street, Pier Street as well as Hay Street past the Old Treasury Building. The eastern end has been neglected for some time and such a program could do wonders in attracting new industries and businesses to this part of town. We can't just rely on the Westin Hotel development.

To make the city more lively, give people a reason to stay. Are there activities people want to do or attractions to make people stay in the city? Perth is known as the City of Lights, embrace it by actually having the city up in lights. We have the building projections only during the Winter Festival and during Christmas, why not have it all year round. Have some buildings light up with boarder lighting. If the CBD had more trees everywhere to make it an urban forrest, why not light up the trees in different colours, and in major areas like the city malls, William Street, Barrack Street, Riverside Drive, St Georges/Adelaide Terrace light up the trees with solar fairy lights. Have different lanterns hanging from light poles (similar to what is done during the Fringe/Perth Festival), or towers by Elizabeth Quay and Riverside Drive which have flames shooting out (similar to Crown Melbourne). Also a consideration of having a new 'Festival of Lights' for a month which shows different forms of lighting and get international lighting artists to come down to Perth to display their work and a weekly fireworks display. Other attractions could be an observation tower, or deck off an existing tall building. Something that people can go up and see the whole of Perth from. Inner city parks and piazzas to get the community together. In San Fran, every building developed needs to give a public space back to the community. This can give Perth more areas for food kiosks/trucks, eating areas, urban forests, public art etc. Another idea could be Perth having a large scale dancing fountain (similar to the Dubai Fountain and Bellagio Fountain)... this idea was once offered to Perth by the same developers, but was rejected as it didn't fit Perth's vision back then. Perhaps put this where the tired grass of Langley Park is?? Perth is also becoming well known for its public art, so let's embrace that and use that as part of our tourism to discover new art pieces (whether it's lighting, sculptures, street art, fountains etc). When it comes to hosting the population of Perth, apartment affordability should be a factor. The average apartment is $500k for a 2 bed, 1 bath, 1 car here in Perth CBD. In other states excluding Sydney, the average is between $380-400k. And the vacancy rate rising in Perth isn't helping with the CBD population. Perth should look in the same direction as Dubai did - it saw the oil production wasn't going to last forever, so it turned to tourism to generate its income. Perth is the same, the resource industry isn't going to last forever, so tourism should also be our main focus. To fill the vacant office buildings, Perth should offer all companies the opportunity to move west, where they'll be in a better timezone to do business with Asia and Europe. Perth could also be like Vancouver, and offer the entertainment industry the opportunity to produce here at a cheaper rate than in the East. Van City is known as the Hollywood of the North as it produces many films and TV shows at a cheaper cost than Hollywood or New York can. Retailers in Perth should also be the flagship store that offer more than the suburban stores. A calling for more international brands to exclusively open in the city should get more business to thrive. In terms of tourism for Greater Perth, host international events which will generate large spectatorship. Perth could have the possibility of hosting the 2028 Olympic Games, instead of Brisbane, if we built a few more sporting venues where the Perth Stadium is, some temporary venues and improved on our public transport with Metronet. It could be known as the budget games, but knowing us Aussies, we like to put on the best show! That would definitely put Perth on the map and give us a global city name instead of the sleepy small town. Even opening up the opportunity to international investors to generate tourism here in Perth would be good. Disneyland could open here! The east coast already have a name for themselves when it comes to tourism, it's time for the west to get some attention and rise the competition.

It's a silly idea to put a large fountain in busy parts of the third windiest city in the world

One of the reasons we seldom frequent the CBD is the high cost of parking in the city. Perhaps the City Of Perth should consider the cost to visit versus the cost to frequent a suburban centre and adjust accordingly. The other problem is the lack of town planning. Lay a road, dig up a road, block a lane, block another lane when the first isn't wonder people seldom want to frequent the CBD.

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