WA Planning Minister Rita Saffioti says she is expecting to find out more about the viability of proposed twin towers at Perth’s renowned Scarborough Beach this week, following reports its Chinese-backed developers have put the project on hold.
The development includes residential and hotel towers of 43 storeys and 33 storeys, but developer 3 Oceans is reportedly having second thoughts.
“We understand they’re considering some other options [for the site], but that’s all we’ve heard and we’re keen to hear directly from them this week,” Ms Saffioti said.
“We’re very keen to see development in that area; the state has poured tens of millions of dollars of infrastructure in that area.
“We’re very keen to see development going forward but we’re waiting to hear directly from the proponents about what they’re suggesting.”
Ms Saffioti said the Government wanted to see job-creating projects go forward, including those involving the private sector such as the Scarborough development.
The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) initially rejected a proposed $400 million plan, which included two towers — one of 43 storeys and another of 35 storeys — over concerns it was a significant overdevelopment of the site.
However, the revised towers would still have been more than double the height of the existing tallest structure along the beach, the 18-storey Rendezvous Hotel.
The project was to include 100 public parking bays, a “WA coastal experience centre”, an observation deck with an art gallery and restaurant/cafe, and retail and food outlets covering almost 3,000 square metres.
Community group welcomes delay
The group Sunsets Not Skyscrapers issued a statement welcoming the news the project was on hold.
“This news is welcome and not entirely unexpected,” co-spokesperson Robyn Murphy said.
“Given the continuing community opposition to the project and the controversy surrounding the planning process, we are not surprised that the developer is having second thoughts about its viability.”
At the time of the approval, Sunsets Not Skyscrapers had expressed its opposition, saying residents felt betrayed by the process and the approval would set a precedent for future development.
Ms Murphy said the group now wanted to meet the Minister.
“We were extremely disappointed when the Minister for Planning publicly supported the 43 and 33-storey towers during the planning process,” she said.
“We now look forward to her endorsing the MRA planning framework with height controls that were adopted after a lengthy community consultation process in 2016.
“Overwhelming public opinion is that Scarborough Beach should not replicate Gold Coast-type development, and should retain its relaxed beach culture, sense of place and its identity as a casual, family and environmentally friendly destination, accessible to all.”