Think through $100m centre

ONCE again the rules of the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre game change.

So, especially now, so close to an election, and after such a divisive, secretive and wrong-headed approach to the convention centre project, it would be surely unconscionable for the WA Government to sign a deal involving more than $100 million of taxpayers’ money.

There appear to be few supporters of the present compromised outcome.

No final decision should be taken until the election is over. If the Government wins, there will still be a need for a total reappraisal of the whole process.

Should it lose, then there will be an opportunity for the incoming government to make a considered decision on behalf of the electors.

That the whole approach was wrong-headed from the start is now obvious to everyone.

There was, mistakenly, a choice of multiple sites instead of one, no ambition for the city to have a world-class iconic building, a lack of open-mindedness to consider lateral ideas in building design and finance, the Planning Ministry and the Perth City Council’s exclusion from the process and, finally, a determination to keep the whole process secret from the public.

There can be no doubt, if Perth is to compete successfully with other capital cities for valuable convention business, it needs a purpose-built convention centre, ideally in the inner city.

But rather than rush into an unsatisfactory outcome – that will haunt us for years to come – we must take whatever time is necessary to get it right.

The problem cannot be fixed before the election and must not become a sad and irretrievable legacy of a defective process.

Ken Adam

CityVision chairman

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