Samantha Reece of PropertyESP recently attended the South Perth planning workshops which dealt with the proposed train station precinct and its overall design.
Now in an earlier career path, Samantha was Director of SMR and responsible for a number of community consultation projects including the Gidgegannup town centre. But what was interesting for Samantha in this case, was that the sessions were hosted by a Council and not the developer and hence this allowed for a sharing of a range of views and hence some much needed robust discussion.
Now when the South Perth Town Planning Scheme was passed in 2013 this was done so without discussing height - but rather based on the provision of a train station. A very dangerous move because it did not deal with the elephant in the room!
As a result, when development started in 2016 and residents were faced with 39 stories - not only did they take proactive action to stop this occurring - but the train station became a dirty word (literally).
To the credit of the Council they have decided (after many inconclusive months) to now take charge by listening to all parties.
As such Samantha was delighted to see that some of the "anti development" factions were really challenged on their assumptions while developers also had a chance to revise the mandatory plot ratio for the commercial vs residential (which at present is making a number of projects in the area nonviable).
While the planning sessions were to a certain extent very much "wish list" orientated - they did allow a forum for developers and supporters of high rise, to challenge and dismiss some of the hype that the anti development factions had created. And no doubt by allowing for this robust and sometimes very aggressive debate, the "nay sayers" were shown to be just a marginal party in the overall context.
PropertyESP wishes to congratulate the South Perth Council because they could have taken action that would have hindered their community's growth - and yet they took the bold move to in fact challenge people's paradigms and hence allow for the stretching of minds and concepts. Plus they did deal with the elephant - and talked height!
At the end of the day - any decision will upset some parties - but it is the deep seated understanding that you look after a whole community (and not just the vocal minority) which the South Perth Council has heeded! As such they have set an example for others that also need to take this bold and proactive approach. Change will not happen by chance - but rather through leadership!