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Victoria Park heading for new heights

VICTORIA Park Council is increasingly featuring in the news regarding developments which were once rarely considered outside the CBD.

The obvious cases are the Burswood Resort and Casino and, a few golf swings away, the Nutrimetics site where controversy reigned in the form of a high-rise building proposal.

The focus on high-rise development and the concerns of some residents indicates that Vic Park is at something a crossroads, or at least approaching the intersection.

There can be no doubt that the area is an obvious place for the migration of businesses which can’t fit into the CBD.

The city itself is bounded to the north by an entertainment zone, with a rail buffer, and southward by a sweeping stretch of the Swan River.

West Perth is already under pressure, with rents jumping and historic houses being threatened with demolition as business gets hungry for modern office blocks which make more efficient use of the space.

For those who have worked in sterile industrial zones like Osborne Park, they are a far cry from the buzz of the city.

That leaves the commercial zone east across the Causeway as the most likely target for developers.

The Victoria Park area is already well endowed with public transport as well as having a significant business presence in the form of car yards and the like.

More importantly, it is serviced by the river, offering the chance to develop a city face which is better attuned to the water than the existing CBD.

Burswood Casino’s vision in this respect is most refreshing and, thoughtfully done, could make a suitable link to a new office precinct.

Going upwards in the form of high-rise development is a simple way of converting land already devoted to commercial concerns into efficient office space.

Of course, residents who fear being overshadowed by development should be consulted and their needs included in any plan for development.

There is also the possibility that, as the new economy takes over, the need for giant office blocks will be ended by an army of people working from home.

Somehow, though, the suspicion remains that metropolitan Perth’s growth will somehow demand bigger buildings at its heart, complete with views of Rottnest Island.

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