Planning pushback

PERTH council’s planners have recommended another tunnel be considered for the CBD to handle light rail or a rapid bus service.

Back in July, Infrastructure WA released the state’s first 20-year infrastructure strategy which recommended planning for light rail and/or bus rapid transport to the city centre.

Noting the “multiple unsuccessful attempts” to get light rail into Perth, the council’s planners could only offer it conditional support, saying the problems it’s supposed to fix need to be more clearly defined.

“The city has concerns that a standalone system (without other changes to the network) is unlikely to succeed,” a staff report to this week’s council agenda briefing said.

Duplicating

The report also noted duplicating services would have implications for the long-term operating costs.

“It is recommended a tunnel option is considered and included in a comprehensive business case – given the time to plan and construct the asset and its overall useful life.”

The city’s planners also gave a small push-back after Infrastructure WA stepped on their toes over a vision for the city’s CBD.

The department’s strategy included a recommendation that a “city opportunity plan” be prepared for the CBD spelling out a “compelling long-term vision”.

But the planners noted they already had one in their draft Local Planning Strategy which was adopted in July and is sitting on a desk in the state’s planning department awaiting approval.

Emphasising its visionary role thrice in two sentences, they also warned that leaving it up to state departments to roll out infrastructure needs could lead to siloed projects that didn’t link.

“Each agency has multiple projects, however they are lacking in a unified purpose and only prioritise the needs of their specific agency.

“This can result in inconsistent priorities and objectives and lost opportunities for leveraging off infrastructure or creating sound place-centred outcomes.”

The council will use its response to the 20-year strategy to push for a new local primary school in the next five years to cater for the increasing population.

“The City of Perth currently has a population of approximately 522 primary aged children,” the staff report said.

“Under the city’s population targets, this is expected to grow to 1,111 primary aged children by 2036.

“There are currently no public primary schools operating in Perth city.”

The council also wants to work with the state to better integrate the cultural centre, including the new museum, art gallery and library, with the surrounding neighbourhoods.

Other items on the wish list were help in combating the city’s heat island effect through joint funding of an urban forest, and an “immediate” investigation into housing and services for people experiencing homelessness.

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