Rail’s final nail

MAX light rail is dead, sending Vincent council back to the drawing board for North Perth.

Back in March 2015 the Liberal government started considering a rapid bus transit system instead, despite taking a “fully funded” MAX light rail from the city to Mirrabooka to the 2013 state election.

Transport minister Dean Nalder said at the time MAX wasn’t completely dead, but with changing economic fortunes and a dip in GST revenue the governmentd was looking at all options.

But this week Mr Nalder put a bullet in the ailing light rail plan, releasing a long-term transport plan that cements in the buses plan.

“I’m gravely disappointed on behalf of the City of Vincent given we had, based on the assurances of the state government, held up the renewal of North Perth because we were waiting for light rail,” Vincent mayor John Carey said.

Developers, private owners, the North Perth Coles… everyone has been waiting on the renewal of North Perth based on that light rail.”

A lot of Vincent’s planning would’ve been based around having a light rail stop in North Perth.

Leon Berthelsen from Engine Room Espresso said the promise of light rail had informed his decision to seek an extended lease on his business, while Rosemount manager Calvin Hook said light rail would have been great for his punters.

Mr Carey says Vincent will go over its master plan and “look now at where that lies and what we have to do”.

Vincent hasn’t entirely been caught off guard, he says.

“We read the tea leaves, we’ve been spending money on the town centre, trees, street arts, bike racks. We’re already doing renewal and want to see a new public space [like the Mary Street Piazza] that we’re going to pursue.”

As it stands there’s no solid plan on the table for northern corridor transport, though an underground heavy rail has been tossed into the mix for consideration. In any case premier Colin Barnett says it’ll all have to wait until the Forrestfield-Airport rail line is finished in 2020.

by DAVID BELL

938-WA-Labor-40x7-Big

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