Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - OPINION -

I SHARE con­cerns over the pro­posed Wes­tralian Cen­tre con­cept. It’s claimed to be vi­able and pop­u­lar with the com­mu­nity.

This flies in the face of ac­tual public opin­ion.

The con­cept was de­vel­oped by the City of South Perth coun­cil be­hind closed doors.

Some res­i­dents re­ceived a “mar­ket­ing-like ques­tion­naire” which did not ask if they wanted a Wes­tralian Cen­tre.

It asked for com­ments on the one and only con­cept.

The ma­jor­ity of re­spon­dents were not in favour of the con­cept.

When res­i­dents be­came aware that the con­cept meant a large cap­i­tal build­ing project on the fore­shore, re­mov­ing green space and im­pact­ing rates, they wanted to know more.

At a Spe­cial Elec­tors’ meet­ing on June 8, al­most 500 res­i­dents re­jected the con­cept. The key con­cerns were: 1. Why do we need a Wes­tralian Cen­tre? In­for­ma­tion is ac­ces­si­ble and will be du­pli­cated.

2. Why was there only one con­cept con­sid­ered? Who is cham­pi­oning it?

3. It is non-es­sen­tial in­fra­struc­ture which ratepay­ers will have to pay for.

4. Why de­stroy green space recre­ational ar­eas which are highly utilised?

The Coun­cil says thou­sands will flock to the cen­tre and it will be fi­nan­cially sound. The cost is ap­prox­i­mately $7.5m to build. Run­ning costs and ratepay­ers’ con­tri­bu­tions are un­known. The main in­come ap­par­ently comes from hir­ing the fa­cil­ity out.

This reeks of op­ti­mistic sto­ries told about the likes of the Bell Tower and Perth Con­ven­tion Cen­tre. An ex­pen­sive white ele­phant is a more likely sce­nario.

Iso­lated from public trans­port, car parks, ser­vices, it doesn’t make sense. Ad­di­tional sup­port in­fra­struc­ture will be needed but we have not been told about this.

We all have smart phones and iPads now and go on­line to get in­for­ma­tion. No need for ex­pen­sive old­fash­ioned bricks and mor­tar.

Se­ri­ously Coun­cil, the boom is over. Where are your pri­or­i­ties?

Fo­cus on cut­ting waste, re­duc­ing bud­gets and rates. COLIN BAI­LEY South Perth

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