West Australians get their first look at quay
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.
Elizabeth Quay, from the 34th floor of Exchange Plaza.