Purchase centred on town stability
When the Town of Claremont paid $3.5 million for the former Claremont Fresh site and adjacent carpark in 2010, it made front page news in the Western Suburbs Weekly.
CLAREMONT Mayor Jock Barker does not regret his council’s $11 million purchase of a 2389sq m block in the centre of the town in 2010.
“It was strategic investment for the town’s future, and it would be a significant financial gain in due course,” Mr Barker said.
The council defeated several rival bids from commercial interests when it bought the 54bay carpark and former Claremont Fresh site, which now hosts Typika coffee roasters.
The bids included multinational Woolworths’ push that could have resulted in Claremont Fresh becoming an outlet for discount bottleshop chain Dan Murphy’s.
However, the council’s successful second bid for the site used $3.5 million of savings and a WA Treasury loan.
Mr Barker said the purchase allowed residents and councillors to
have a say in the future development of the town centre.
“Otherwise the planning minister and the bureaucrats could have decided the shape of the town,” he said.
He said while there were no immediate plans to use the site, a report would go to the council about any future mixed residential and commercial development late this year.
Residents would be consulted if the site was ever used, and Mr Barker said the purchase showed long-term financial planning, which had kept a lid on rates rises, when the State Government had increased debts and charges.
“It will contribute in due course to absolute stabilisation of rates in the future,” he said.
FOR years, John XXIII College in Mt Claremont has had a reputation as a leader in education and the college’s special education centre is no exception.
Named after one of the college’s inspirational figures, the Mary Ward Centre offers state-of-the-art facilities for students, enabling students with intellectual disabilities to have access to practical learning opportunities alongside mainstream learning.
Mary Ward Centre head of learning Gill Lyon said each of the 18 students had an individualised program.
“The students have varying disabilities, from high needs to lower needs,” she said.
“Each student’s program is tailored to meet their needs, so some are in and out taking part in mainstream elective classes such as food, textiles, woodwork and physical education.”
Ms Gill said that as part of the program, students in years 10, 11 and 12 visited workplaces once a week.
“The students go out to organisations such as Royal Lifesaving or the Catholic Education office, or to competitor workplaces such as Bunnings, Coles or Woolworths,” she said.
“We never know where their work opportunities might evolve. For example, we have an ex-student who works at The West Australian two mornings a week.”
Ms Gill said students who were not be able to go into the workplace went on “life and leisure” outings with staff.
“The students are taken to communities venues, such as Scitech for example, where they went last week,” she said.
“They are taught life skills about behaving appropriately in a public environment, as well as on public transport, which they use to get to and from the venue.
“The difference between when the students come in and when they leave is enormous; you really see the difference in the way they manage all the skills we take for granted.”
The highlight of the students’ week is when the Leader of the Week award is handed out.
“The ‘habit program’ is our leadership program that underpins everything we do,” Ms Lyon said.
“It makes the whole environment a very positive one because we talk the language of leadership and it gives the students a framework.
“The student who displays the best leadership gets the ‘Leader of the Week’ badge, an award they wear with much pride.”
Mr Barker is happy with the purchase six years ago.
The Western Suburbs Weekly’s report on the Town’s purchase.
Mary Ward Centre head of learning Gill Lyon with Year 12 student Lachlan Harcourt and Year 11 student Maddie Brown.