West Aus­tralians get their first look at quay

Kalgoorlie Miner - - NEWS - Kate Emery

More than three decades of talk, con­tro­versy and blue­prints that failed to ma­te­ri­alise cul­mi­nated yes­ter­day in the pub­lic un­veil­ing of Perth’s wa­ter­front de­vel­op­ment, El­iz­a­beth Quay.

As of yes­ter­day, West Aus­tralians can judge if the cost, and at­times in­con­ve­nience, of the $440 mil­lion pro­ject — about half of which is ex­pected to be re­cov­ered from land sales — has been worth it.

As many as a dozen plans for the fore­shore have been pro­posed since it was put firmly on the agenda in the 1980s with a four-year study by the City of Perth and bod­ies then known as the Metropoli­tan Re­gion Plan­ning Au­thor­ity and the Swan River Man­age­ment Trust.

All fell by the way­side, some be­cause of pub­lic op­po­si­tion and oth­ers be­cause of a change of govern­ment.

Most re­cently, the Alan Car­pen­ter Govern­ment un­wrapped a vi­sion, dubbed “Dubai-on-Swan” by crit­ics, that in­cluded man-made river in­lets, pri­vately de­vel­oped high-rise and an is­land shaped like a swan.

Other plans in­cluded one cham­pi­oned by the Car­men Lawrence Govern­ment that would have in­cluded a foun­tain to mark the en­trance to the city at the Cause­way, a canal sep­a­rat­ing River­side Drive from Lan­g­ley Park and a ma­rina at Bar­rack Square.

Few will be await­ing the pub­lic’s ver­dict on the quay more anx­iously than Premier Colin Bar­nett, for whom it will inevitably be re­garded as a legacy of his time in of­fice.

For now, the quay com­prises 1.5km of board­walks and prom­e­nades around an in­let, with 36,000sqm of paving bro­ken up by patches of lawn, trees and places to sit.

Ten­ants have yet to move into the few low-rise build­ings that have been fin­ished and which are ear­marked for restau­rants, bars and ice cream shops.

Within two years the land­scape should be very dif­fer­ent, with a 204-room Ritz Carl­ton ho­tel and apart­ment tow­ers on the east­ern side to be com­pleted in 2018.

Con­struc­tion of an­other ho­tel and apart­ment de­vel­op­ment on the western side of the in­let is ex­pected to start from mid-2017.

Fur­ther de­vel­op­ments by Chevron and Brook­field Mul­ti­plex — as­sum­ing long-run­ning talks with the Metropoli­tan Re­de­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity re­sult in a deal — should en­sure the land around the pub­lic open space re­mains a con­struc­tion site for many years.

Pic­ture: Ben Crab­tree

El­iz­a­beth Quay, from the 34th floor of Ex­change Plaza.

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