Proposed Westralian Centre concept
Journalist’s background: Media enquiry regarding the proposed Westralian Centre concept following the June 2017 Council Meeting.
• What is the timeline for the creation of the reference/ advisory group and potentially bringing ideas back to council?
• Does the council believe it made an error in proposing the Westralian Centre? Why yes/no?
• Was the community feedback at the Special Electors Meeting and the survey the main reasons for the council voting against the concept?
• In the future, are there any changes the council would make to the way the concept was pitched and the way the community was consulted?
Please attribute the following quotes to City of South Perth Deputy Mayor Glenn Cridland.
What is the timeline for the creation of the reference/ advisory group and potentially bringing ideas back to council?
There is no timeline yet for establishing the Reference Group to assist in the implementation of an endorsed Plan for Foreshore Node 9.
Does the council believe it made an error in proposing the Westralian Centre? Why yes/no?
No. Absolutely not. The Westralian Centre was an example of successful consultation. The Council expressly voted for an extensive consultation process for the concept of a Westralian Centre. The Council often puts out significant ideas and concepts for discussion by and consultation with ratepayers, residents and other stakeholders before any real action is taken to progress the idea. This important consultation process provides the City officers and elected members with better information with which to make decisions to take the City forward.
Was the community feedback at the Special Electors Meeting and the survey the main reasons for the council voting against the concept?
It is obviously not possible to speculate why a majority of the Council voted to not progress the Westralian Centre concept as proposed at Node 9 on Sir James Mitchell Park.
What is clear is that the elected members considered a wide range and significant depth of information on the concept - including a progress report on the proposed Centre’s business case and financial viability, community and stakeholder consultation outcomes, site and management investigations and potential external capital funding sources. There was a real strength of feeling against the concept displayed by the public at the Special Electors’ Meeting – which notably followed the distribution of flyers created by several residents in Garden Street and Mill Point Road who overlook the site proposed for the concept and who opposed the concept going forward. I have no doubt that the elected members gave due and serious consideration to the Special Electors’ Meeting and surveys – along with the other information on the concept. All of this information informed Council’s decision making process.
Council values the community’s feedback and considered all opinions captured through the City’s community consultation process which included opinions expressed through the independent survey, the City’s questionnaire on Your Say South Perth and the deputations made at the Special Electors’ Meeting on 8 June 2017.
In the future, are there any changes the council would make to the way the concept was pitched and the way the community was consulted?
In relation to the Westralian Centre concept the community engagement process has demonstrated a number of things.
Turning a strategic direction into an idea that can be discussed and debated by all stakeholders, not just the local community, is a challenging and almost impossible process. Unfortunately, despite best communication efforts, many people assumed that what was being put out for discussion was the final plan.
One learning from the Westralian Centre consultation is that the City and Council need to be united and somehow even clearer in their communication to residents that it is only a concept, an idea, as opposed to a final plan that is being discussed.
We have had reinforced again that there are a very wide range of views in the community about the future of the foreshore. The research into the views of South Perth residents, the wider City of South Perth community, and the broader metropolitan area, as well as statements at the Special Electors Meeting, clearly demonstrated that there are extremely divergent views about any development on the South Perth foreshore, some people are very opposed, while some are very supportive, and there are many in between.
All our future community engagement must continue to capture the views of those who are passionate and engaged, as well as those who might typically be more silent on these issues until directly asked for input including those who feel unable to make a loud comment in a public meeting.
We must continue to always look at community engagement through the lens of the City's role as custodian of the foreshore, so that we provide a benefit for all Western Australians who visit and use the foreshore area or may do so.
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