Big Perth backed

PERTH councillors have endorsed a plan to triple the CBD population to 90,000 by 2050, outstripping the state government’s own target.

This week the council approved a strategy which sets out the first 15 years of actions to boost the population, locking in the aspirational target set by commissioners who sat in while the previous council was suspended.

The state’s own target is 53,000 residents by 2050.

A staff report says a bigger population will “achieve busy streets, a safer place, more investment, business and economic growth”.

Many of the CBD’s problems are blamed on its emptiness at night as workers retreat to dormitory suburbs, but under the new strategy it’s hoped many will simply hike home to their inner-city digs.

The population boost would come through improving six “highly liveable, mixed-use neighbourhoods” in central Perth, Northbridge, East Perth, Claisebrook, West Perth and Crawley/Nedlands. Planning rules would be introduced to encourage “quality and diverse housing” and deter  developments too dependent on cars. 

At the July 13 special council meeting, deputy lord mayor Sandy Anghie said “studies over many years have shown that an increased inner city population is the key to a more vibrant city, and residents are the ones who will bring life to our city 24/7. But targets and quotas for inner city housing aren’t enough. Currently it’s not a supply issue, it’s a demand issue.

“We need people to want to live in our city.”

The strategy aims to hit 55,000 people by 2036, on the way to 90,000 by 2050. 

The plan will need to be rubber stamped by the state’s WA Planning Commission, likely to take a few months, before it can be sent back for council to put it out to public comment.

That means the final call will be made after October’s election, where the four councillors who only got a brief one year term are up for a vote once again.

by DAVID BELL

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