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18 December 2017

SCARBOROUGH PROJECT IN LIMBO

WA BUSINESS NEWS

Perth’s property sector is still coming to terms with the implications of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority’s recent decision to block two high-rise towers near Scarborough beach.

Just more than a week ago, the MRA knocked back 3 Oceans Property’s $450 million Iconic Scarborough development, which proposed two towers, at 35 and A3 storeys, comprising 159 hotel rooms, 345 apartments, a convention centre, rooftop sky gallery and retail space.

Industry groups have expressed their disappointment with the decision. Property Council of Australia WA executive director Lino Iacomella said it was a setback for the broader plan to build hubs of high-quality entrainment, retail and housing diversity around Perth.

Urban Development Institute of Australia WA chief executive Allison Hailes said the MRA decision was a blow to redevelopment of the area and would deter other potential local and interstate investors from looking at WA.

The proposal for a site on the corner of West Coast Highway and Scarborough Beach Road was rejected because of its scale, which the MRA board deemed as a significant overdevelopment of the site, and its potential impact on local traffic.

In contrast to other coastal and highrise developments in Perth, which attract strong community opposition, there was majority support for the twin-towers development, one of which would be twice the size of the neighbouring Rendezvous Hotel.

Last week, the MRA revealed to Business News details of its public consultation; of 400 submissions received, 219 were in support, 173 objected and the remaining were neutral. Parallel to this was 3 Ocean’s own public consultation process, where 80 per cent of 900 responses received were in support of the project.

Managing director Dyno Zhang told Business News that most of the issues raised had been dealt with in discussions with relevant agencies.

The MRA also provided Business News with details of its stakeholder referrals, stating that all of the government agencies and services providers engaged with the development application, apart from Tourism WA, opposed the development based on scale and traffic impacts.

This was subsequently disputed by at least one agency and prompted a stern response from Planning Minister Rita Saffioti. “I am disappointed about claims made by the MRA regarding other agencies’ views, which do not appear to be correct,” Ms Saffioti said. “This does not move the debate forward and raises more confusion and concern about the MRA’s processes.”

“Agencies such as Main Roads identified concerns, but I understand they were being addressed through further planning. We are undertaking a program of reform of the MRA, and part of this is to improve the transparency, accountability and governance of the agency.

“I understand there will always be different views about size and scale of developments, but we need a clearer process that identifies issues earlier and creates a more transparent decision making process. I am very keen to have all the parties work together to achieve an agreed outcome.”