Short-sighted piecemeal planning seems to be very much what Western Australia is all about, both at state and local levels. The planned Coogee Coast development south of Fremantle’s South Beach, that includes the heritage significant former South Fremantle Power Station, is another example of non-integrated planning.
While Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett and Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt say that the influx of some 12,000 residents would make lightrail the perfect form of public transport, Lands Minister Tony Redman stated that a bus priority corridor along Hampton Road and through the new development would be adequate. Who is he kidding?!
We constantly hear from State Government experts that higher density living along transport corridors is the way forward for fast-growing Perth, but a bus service that would accommodate 10,000 commuters during rush hour each day is just a ridiculous and outdated proposition. It would require some 200 busses to drive from Coogee to the Fremantle train station between 6.30-8.30 am to shift that many people. 200 busses in 120 minutes along Hampton Road? YES Minister.
Why can’t the cost for lightrail be included in the massive development, so that the developers who are going to make millions from it actually pay for most of the transport infrastructure required. Imagine that same light rail also looping past Fiona Stanley Hospital, and the Murdoch and Curtin universities and we might start seeing the light on how to deal with traffic congestions and the associated air pollution.
I had a wander around Port Coogee by Australand this morning and was quite impressed with the quiet elegance and eye for detail of the place. It is unashamedly modern-but not sterile-and I unashamedly admit I like good modern architecture as much as I like stunning old heritage buildings.
There is already good public art, an attempt at greening the area, a nice marina, funky playground, a striking bridge and a cobblestone street.
In my humble opinion it has great potential once a community and sense of place is established with a form of ‘town centre’.
What it isn’t at all is Hillary’s, so that shows that one has to take the promises of developers with a million grains of salt, because supposedly this was going to become a huge tourist attraction just south of Fremantle, well, it won’t.
It is well worth having a look at though and a nice hotel there would not be out of place, but that would require better public transport down that corridor, ideally as light rail.