Home' Scoop : Scoop 50 Summer 2009 Contents feature futureperth
from January, the suburbs are off the agenda.
James Pearson says the retail trading debate is
an illustration of poor leadership: "I don't think
people are resistant to it, that's nonsense," he says.
CCI surveys show that two-thirds of people regu-
larly support weeknight and Sunday trading. "But
we have a parliament which, for narrow political
reasons, will not allow that to happen," he says.
Marion believes the retail debate is a good
example of how WA's "nanny state" mentality has
made us dull. "You know, if the government thinks
they are preserving the social fabric by not having
Sunday trading, they are deluded. It's ludicrous, the
family unit is just so different these days," she says.
By the same token, while the police needed
to respond to crime in Northbridge, she says, the
nanny state way of closing bars down and evicting
people early won't contribute to the long-term
success of the area. The solution had to be in
something the community responded to.
The Committee for Perth has also looked at ways
to include respect and an appreciation of Abo-
riginal culture into the fabric of our lives. Along
with Lisa Scaffidi and Steve Woodland, they are
championing the case for an Indigenous cultural
centre to be part of the Perth waterfront.
But many of the most important issues facing-
Perth concern the development of the metropolis as
a whole, which continues to sprawl in what many
see as an uneconomical and unsustainable way.
Steve Woodland points out that the suburban
model of development has also been destructive in a
social sense because it has promoted isolation at the
expense of community and good neighbourhoods.
UWA Landscape Architect Richard Weller
has produced a comprehensive tome outlining
our future development options called Boomtown
(UWAP). He says by 2050 Perth will need at least
700,000 further homes and canvasses an array of
fascinating and thought-provoking options for the
metropolis's future development -- both horizontal-
ly and vertically. But, in spite of the many options
canvassed, Marion points out we have a historical
resistance to high-density developments.
"I don't quite know what this fear of density is
all about. If we are going to attract and retain peo-
ple we have to have more than just mono-living."
And it can be frustrating when people take a black
and white approach, she says. "It does get into this
'Gold Coast or nothing' argument."
Steve says our relationship with the landscape
need not be compromised by a changed built
environment if it still responded appropriately to
the landscape and our WA identity.
"We now really have to think about how we can
preserve that identity, preserve the characteristics
of what we see ourselves as, but through models
that are more environmentally responsible (than
the suburban sprawl)," he says. Marion suggests
that our inherent resistance to change could be
overcome by making it more clear what will not be
altered. "We are not having a meaningful dialogue
about what's not up for change," she says.
But there is resistance to change -- and its not
just about high-density living. Radio talkback callers
protest about spending government money on thea-
tres and stadiums instead of schools and hospitals.
Residents groups say how they like our beaches
undeveloped and being able to drive around the city
waterfront just as it is. Letters to papers complain
that new small bars bring noise and traffic.
Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi says she occasionally
gets letters from people saying "please don't change
Perth" and "you must keep Perth as it is".
John Hammond is the president of Keep Cott
Low, a residents group committed to preventing
multi-storey developments on Cottesloe Beach. He
says, Perth is full of examples of where develop-
ment has not preserved what is important to locals.
"A classic example of where development has
gone badly off track is the Perth Convention
Centre," he says. "That constitutes the most hide-
ous building in Australia without question," he
says. "It failed to take advantage of the foreshore
or all the buildings behind it. If you want to have
a reason why people don't have confidence in de-
velopment in Perth, that's it. It should be knocked
down and started again," he says.
John says what makes Cottesloe the most
sought-after suburb in Australia was that it was not
Barb de Corti,
What are you most
proud of in WA? As
the most isolated city
on earth Perth tends to
breed a can-do attitude.
You can see it every-
where from business to arts to charity.
What don't you like about Perth? For all the
great things Perth people can do the one thing
they cannot do is drive! It's very disappoint-
ing that we haven't utilised the river to its full
potential. Despite years of talk, there’s still no
connection between the CBD and the river.
And as someone who cycles past the river every
day, it's devastating to see the algal blooms
every summer and the environmental problems
plaguing the icon landmark.
Do you have a vision of how Perth might be
in, say, 20 years? I would love to see us bring
together our rare combination of enormous
natural beauty, resource wealth and ingenuity
to develop a cityscape that showcases our city
in a sustainable way, and I would dearly love to
be able to enjoy our stunning climate in a more
Do you have any fears for WA's future? That
government will rob future West Australians of
their inheritance for short-term political gain.
I fear that our resources wealth will be sold off
rather than managed, and royalties re-invested
in infrastructure to benefit all West Australians.
Eric Ripper, leader of
What are you most proud
of in WA? Our quality of
life and the State's ever
increasing prominence on
the national stage. In recent
years our city has seen an influx of people from
around the world who flocked here at the height
of the boom. They have all been encouraged to
add to the professional, cultural and sporting life
of Perth and we are richer for their contribution.
The development of key infrastructure such as the
Perth to Mandurah rail line and the Perth to Bun-
bury Highway has improved access to our city and
helped foster a more cosmopolitan environment.
The completion of the new Perth Arena and the
new State Theatre will further add to the cultural
life of the city.
What don't you like about Perth? The tendency
for our important public debates about change
to be dominated by special interest groups. Our
focus should be on making decisions that are in
all of our interests -- the public interest.
Do you have a vision of how Perth might be in,
say, 20 years? A much bigger city which is a glo-
bal hub for the resources sector and a significant
centre for science and research. A culturally active
and diverse city building on Indigenous art, mul-
ticulturalism and closer integration with our region,
that is not afraid to make more imaginative use of its
Do you have any fears for WA's future? Our
growth could leave too many people behind.
Resistance to necessary changes might prevent
Western Australia from realising its full potential.
Continued urban sprawl might expose many peo-
ple to sharp increases in global energy prices.
Links Archive Scoop 52 Navigation Previous Page Next Page