What is the background to this project?

The 2015 South Perth Foreshore Strategy and Management Plan (SPF Plan) was developed to balance the competing demands for use, development and management of this metropolitan regional reserve with the need to conserve and enhance a functional healthy river and foreshore environment. 

The City of South Perth engaged extensively with the community and stakeholders in the development of the SPF Plan to improve the amenity, access and sustainability of the reserve. 

The SPF Plan identifies ten nodes, each with distinctive characteristics, opportunities and management issues, and strategies for each. Work has already been completed at Node 5: Mill Point in the Millers Pool area and planning is well advanced at Node 1: Mends Street (Piazza and Promenade). 

Why is the Council looking at the proposed Westralian Centre as an option for this site?

In planning for the progressive implementation of the South Perth Foreshore (SPF) Plan, consideration has been given as to how the strategy for Node 9: The Flagpole could be realised. This location has been identified as a place to 'develop a landmark site, representing national, state, local and Aboriginal significance, that expresses the historical background of the area; and a landmark event space for calendar civic and social events that provides recreational facilities throughout the year'. 

In also addressing the observation in the SPF plan that this area was disconnected from the rest of the park, the proposed concept of the Westralian Centre offers a tangible response. The proposal provides an opportunity to improve the public experience; offers complementary uses of the area; and meets the criteria identified in the strategy for Node 9.

What is the purpose of the Westralian Centre?

The proposed Westralian Centre is envisaged to be a commemorative public space that would celebrate unique Western Australian and South Perth stories, culture and heritage while fitting sensitively into the landscape, respecting the surrounding natural environment and preserving vistas to the City and Swan River. 

The proposed concept would celebrate and pay respect to our rich local history including our Aboriginal heritage, the early settlers and the many migrants who have contributed to the development of South Perth. It will also tell the story behind many of our state’s important military contributions. 

The proposed Westralian Centre would contribute to the ongoing development of South Perth as a destination for local, state and international visitors, provide an economic boost for local business and provide additional employment within the City. 

What would be included in the proposed Westralian Centre?

The project is a proposal only at this stage but it is envisaged that the Westralian Centre would be a multi-purpose interpretive facility and public space. 

Initial concepts include the following:
  • Internal interpretation and exhibition space 
  • Outdoor recreation and interpretation space 
  • Theaterette/lecture room
  • Café/restaurant
  • Office 
  • Public toilets
  • Gift and souvenir shop.

Will it have an impact on views to the City?

The City understands that it is essential that views to Perth’s CBD and Swan River are maintained. Initial concept drawings illustrate the architect-designed facility built into the landscape, with public open spaces to complement the surrounding reserve, natural environment and river. 

Is the design finalised?

The illustrations that the City has provided are concept designs only and may well be subject to some change. The key feature that is unlikely to change is the principle of building into the landscape in order to minimise visual impact and maintain the views of the Perth CBD skyline.

Further consultation will occur with stakeholders and the community to review, refine and develop the initial concept designs into more detailed designs and final plans.

How much would it cost and how would the project and the ongoing costs be funded?

The City plans to seek state, federal and private funding for the project, which is estimated to cost approximately $7 million based on initial design concepts. This cost is indicative and further work and planning is required for definitive costings.

It is proposed that the City will manage and maintain the Centre and be responsible for ongoing operating and maintenance costs during the lifetime of the building. 

It can be expected that income will be derived from certain activities to offset a portion of those costs. The Westralian Centre would generate revenue from exhibitions, venue hire and the activities of the proposed café. The model for operating the Westralian Centre and its facilities will be examined also be prepared in the business case.

If approved, when would the proposed Westralian Centre be built?

The project is a proposal only at this stage. At the City’s February 2017 Council Meeting, the Council resolved to give in principle support to the proposed project and the City will now commence initial investigations and preparatory works, including a business case and stakeholder and community engagement on the concept.

The project is also reliant on securing state, federal and private funding, the timing for which is unknown at this stage. 

Additionally there are a number of other approvals required and with detailed design, it can be expected that project development would take at least another 12 months.

How does the City plan to manage traffic and parking?

The City is conscious that additional parking would need to be provided to accommodate an increase in visitors to the area. The proposal is currently a concept only. Should funding and support for the progression of the project be secured, comprehensive traffic management and parking provision plans would be provided in the Development Application process, along with further opportunities for public comment.

How will the City accommodate the extra parking that would be required for visitors to this destination?

Traffic and parking management would be an essential part of the detailed development plans for the project. The site has good existing road access so parking requirements will be the primary focus. 

The City’s goal would be to promote the proposed Westralian Centre as a destination on the foreshore that can be accessed in multiple ways, by existing foreshore users and new visitors, including tourists crossing the river by ferry. 

Has any consultation been undertaken with military associations and groups?

The City has spoken broadly and informally about the concept to a range of military organisations, including the RSL. They are generally receptive to the overall concept and the City will continue to consult with them should further stages of the proposal be undertaken.

Has any consultation been undertaken with Indigenous people/groups?

The City has initiated discussions and will consult with local Aboriginal peoples and Elders responsible for the Swan River. The City will also be required to complete a Section 18 under the Aboriginal Heritage Act.

What are the next steps?

The questionnaire on the proposed Westralian Centre will close at 5pm on Friday 2 June 2017. 

Once all stakeholder feedback has been analysed and collated, the findings will be presented to Council as part of the further decision making process.