Yagan MkII

Plans for the redesign to be occupied by Nokturnl

NEW designs have been released for the do-over of the failed Yagan Square, a public space that’s struggled to attract respectable crowds even with the addition of an on-site police garrison.

State Labor’s Perth MP John Carey this week announced “a new chapter for Yagan Square” with the signing of a deal with hospitality operator Nokturnl that’ll gift them a $5.4 million state government contribution. 

They’ll reconfigure Market Hall, which was a food-court style arrangement that never had much success attracting customers or keeping tenants, into a multi-venue pub like their Old Synagogue in Fremantle and The Beaufort in Highgate.

“The previous model of Yagan Square has not worked,” Mr Carey said in his announcement, giving a blunt review of the project that was started by the previous Liberal government.

“The reconfigured Market Hall will follow the successful approach adopted at Nokturnl’s other venues, and will feature venues suitable to all age groups.”

But the redesign’s drawn a sprinkling criticisms from commentors who say the addition of a giant multi-venue mega-pub comes at the cost of one of the few reasons worth visiting the square: The upper level kids’ water playground.

One critic calling on the state not to throw the baby pool out with the bathwater was former Perth councillor Reece Harley, who said “literally the only reason we ever visit Yagan square is for the kids water playground on the rooftop.

“Seems that’s being demolished for a lettable tenancy. Perth City is such an incredibly unfriendly destination for families with children.”

Mr Carey said he didn’t agree the water play space was overly popular with families. Unfortunately it was popular with troublemakers. 

“The advice from DevelopmentWA, who manages the site, was that that particular playground in its top location was one of the most problematic areas of Yagan Square for antisocial behaviour, and that’s because of its location which is out of the way,” Mr Carey told the Voice.

“We had to do something.”

He says of the redesigned square: “It will be a family-friendly venue. 

“There isn’t a replica of the playground from upstairs, but there will be a family-friendly play component that will be part of the venue.”


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