03/08/2004 - 22:00

Transport links driving Armadale

03/08/2004 - 22:00

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Armadale is gearing up for significant development more than a decade after the city was named as one of the Perth metropolitan region’s eight strategic regional centres.

Transport links driving Armadale

Armadale is gearing up for significant development more than a decade after the city was named as one of the Perth metropolitan region’s eight strategic regional centres.

Currently home to 54,000 people, Armadale will soon undergo pockets of retail, residential and commercial redevelopment.

The expected growth parallels completion of the Tonkin Highway extension to Armadale Road (by January 2005), and a new train station, work on which is under way.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah McTiernan said a raft of agencies was combining on several projects to make "a real difference" in Armadale.

“The Tonkin Highway extension is underpinning the Champion Lakes development, the Forestdale Industrial Business Park and also the Brookdale residential area,” she told WA Business News.

"Armadale is a strategic regional centre which has failed to thrive in the past, and we are actively intervening to make it work.

"There has been an enormous turnaround in confidence. For example the land price in Kelmscott was actually decreasing a few years ago, and now there has been a 30 per cent increase in land price.

"More housing diversity is needed. It is the opposite to Subiaco where we are introducing more affordable housing.

"For Armadale, more upmarket options need to be made available."

Armadale Redevelopment Authority (ARA) executive director John Ellis told WA Business News the region was about to “spring to life”.

“Armadale is quite close to activity in the metropolitan region compared with places like Mandurah and Rockingham, and it is time for Armadale to really come into its prime,” Mr Ellis said.

“A real point of difference is the fragile water environment, and we are going to work with the land form and environment, instead of against it to do things differently.

The Champion Lakes redevelopment area covers 136 hectares parallel with the Tonkin Highway extension, and will contain a unique recreational precinct.

As part of this precinct, a 2.2km-long artificial lake is being excavated to conform to international rowing standards.

 “This is being created at no cost to the community,” Mr Ellis said.

“Contractors are sourcing fill for the Tonkin Highway from the lake site and essentially digging the lake.

“This would have cost about $17 million to do otherwise.”

As part of the rowing and recreational facility the ARA also plans to create artificial rapids at a cost of $20 million.

The only similar artificial rapids in Australia are located in Penrith, New South Wales, making Armadale a unique tourist destination, according to Mr Ellis.

Construction on the 26 hectares of residential land adjoining Champion Lakes is expected to start in 15 months.

Other developments in the area include the completion of a master plan in relation to 1,500 hectares of land in Brookdale, roughly the same size as Ellenbrook.

The area is designated as a fragile water environment and the ARA is working with the Water Corp and CSIRO to find the most appropriate solutions, according to Mr Ellis.

The area will ultimately hold 10,000 lots and housing for between 25,000 and 30,000 residents.

“This will be a whole different product, and there is a challenge to developers to recognise that,” Mr Ellis said.

Development is expected to commence in Brookdale towards the end of 2005.

Developers such as Peet & Co and Stockland have strategic land holdings in the Brookdale area.

Peet & Co managing director Warwick Hemsley said the company hoped to develop its Brookdale land holding in the medium term.

Residential and recreational development aside, Armadale’s city centre is also preparing to undergo significant change and expansion.

The new Armadale train station will adjoin $10 million worth of upgraded roads and two shopping centers, both of which are believed to be submitting for redevelopment in the near future.

Commercial and industrial land will receive a boost with a further $10 million from the State Government being used to create infrastructure in the 190ha Forrestdale Industrial Business Park.

Mr Ellis said the park would ultimately provide employment for 5,000 people.

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