Civic Triangle Update

Media Response 1 April 2011

Background: The site of the Civic Triangle, land bounded by Mends Street, Labouchere Rd and Mill Point Road, has been a long-term plan of the City of South Perth. The site is expected to generate millions of dollars for the City. But community members are worried about the use of some of the historical sites, such as the Old Police Station, which is believed to have been leased out to a private company.

Please attribute the following comments to City of South Perth Mayor James Best:

City's introduction: The City has over a very long period of time the past two decades, progressively acquired properties within the "civic triangle" for the purpose of land consolidation and redevelopment in the form of an iconic building. The "Triangle" is a key entry statement to the City and is bounded by Mill Point Road, Labouchere Road and Mends Street, South Perth. The sale or disposal by long-term lease of all of the City owned property within the "Triangle" is the cornerstone of the City's 5 year Financial Plan.

The City owns all of the land within the "Triangle" apart from the post office on the corner of Mill Point Road and Mends Street. Other than the old South Perth Learning Centre building, all properties within the "Triangle" are leased out on short-term leases to provide the City with maximum flexibility when the time comes to put the "Triangle" on the market.

It is anticipated that the land will be available for sale or lease within approximately 12–15 months’ time when arrangements will be made to place the property on the market. It is expected that the land will be sold for in excess of $10 million and the proceeds will be allocated towards provision of new and needed community facilities.

What is the current state of the Old Police Station? Is it being leased out to a private company?

The Old Police Station, consistent with the other properties in the "triangle", has been leased out to a well-established and reputable local company for a period of one year to coincide with the timeline detailed above. Given the absence of any identified City use, the leasing of the Old Police Station results in better security/protection of the premises from vandals/squatters that may opportunistically take advantage of the otherwise vacant building. In addition, a commercial rent is paid which will benefit the City.

What is the City's stance in regards to leasing out historical buildings?

Provided the integrity of historical buildings is maintained, there is no logical reason why these buildings should not be leased. It is important that historical buildings are used rather than remain vacant and if they can generate an income for the City it results in a "win-win" situation.

What is the future of the South Perth Community Kindergarten?

Background: The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that every child has access to a quality early childhood education program. The program is to be delivered by a four-year university trained early childhood teacher, for 15 hours a week for 40 weeks a year in the year before formal schooling (often referred to as 'preschool or kindergarten'). The commitment is to be fully implemented by mid 2013.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has endorsed a major national partnership agreement on early childhood education. As a result, the Australian Government has now entered into a bilateral agreement with the WA State Government to give effect to this decision.

As a consequence of this arrangement, the WA State Education Dept has recently embarked on a program to consolidate preschool and Kindergartens on the same school site to maximise teaching and learning opportunities and to meet the objectives of the Commonwealth/State Agreement.

The South Perth Community Kindergarten, currently located in the "Triangle", has been advised by the Education Department that a Kindergarten will be available on the South Perth Primary School site by the end by February next year (2012). The City has extended the existing lease arrangement with the Kindergarten to enable the current students to finish their pre-school year.

Coincidently, the timeframe set by the Commonwealth/State Agreement is similar to the timeframe that the City has in relation to disposal of the "Triangle".

Is the City aware of dissention amongst the community over the kindy's move to the SP Primary School?

The City is aware that the decision of the Education Dept to locate kindergartens on existing school sites has caused some dissatisfaction with some people. The existing kindergarten has known for some years of the City's plans to sell or lease the buildings within the "Triangle" (including the kindergarten) next year.

What is the current state of the redevelopment of the triangle?

See above.

Would unused buildings in the area be better functioning as community-type facilities?

Buildings within the "Triangle" have in the past been used for community purposes and some of these have been relocated to other premises (The South Perth Learning Centre and temporary library are good examples of this). The buildings are only expected to be in the City's ownership for a year or so before they are sold in accordance with the long-term plan.

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