03/09/2009 - 00:00

Public space overhaul planned

03/09/2009 - 00:00

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AN ice rink next to the art gallery, a helipad by the river and new farmers' and artists' markets in the Cultural Centre are some of the innovative ideas being evaluated to enliven central Perth.

Public space overhaul planned

AN ice rink next to the art gallery, a helipad by the river and new farmers' and artists' markets in the Cultural Centre are some of the innovative ideas being evaluated to enliven central Perth.

The East Perth Redevelopment Authority released a cultural centre discussion paper to selected stakeholders last month, highlighting some of the schemes aimed at transforming the amenity of the area.

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi also promoted a few interesting ideas aimed at revitalising the city centre during a public speaking engagement last week.

Alongside a tourist helipad, which Ms Scaffidi said was an important facility for any capital city, she recommended a town square be established in West Perth and highlighted the need for establishing Forrest Place as the premier civic space within the city.

EPRA's document, the 'Perth Cultural Centre including October Activation Plan', collated by New York-based planning guru Fred Kent's Project for Public Spaces, contains detailed recommendations of innovative proposals designed to inject life into the under-utilised space.

Planning, Culture and the Arts Minister John Day told WA Business News the Kent document was just one of many sources the government was utilising to gather possible ideas for the revitalisation.

Mr Day said the government would release a plan for public comment once finalised.

Some of the notable recommendations in the paper were for the installation of an adaptable swimming pool/ice skating rink with a tiki bar and grill between the art gallery and Beaufort Street, a bocce court next to the Western Australian Museum, and regular temporary exterior art installations and exhibitions.

At the William Street end of the centre, the plan calls for the reactivation of the Pica bar with exterior cafe-style facilities and the establishment of a public square lined with restaurants and cafes from William Street to Pica.

Between the library and the museum, the Kent document recommends a "Perth Plage", a children's play beach and recreation area based around the concepts made popular by a seasonal public space in France, the Paris Plage.

On the roof of the library, the proposal advocates redevelopment of the terrace as an event space.

Near the art gallery, a farmers' market would be introduced under the proposal, while a Central Tafe student artists' market was also mooted.

The Kent document also recommended a redesign of the fountain at the front of the art gallery to incorporate a temporary sport and recreation plaza with cafe seating and a retail kiosk near a remodelled art gallery entrance.

The paper also suggested the name 'cultural centre' be re-evaluated to reflect its new image.

Ms Scaffidi said in a statement supplied to WA Business News the key challenge of revitalising under-utilised areas of the city was ensuring the commitment of individuals and businesses.

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