TWO newly approved 18 storey high-rise buildings will be the catalysts for a whole new “causeway precinct” in Victoria Park.
The buildings were “green lighted” recently after pressure from Planning Minister John Day forced the council to approve height amendments, allowing the 18-storey construction.
A new causeway precinct was announced around 2005, but originally would only cater for a 12-storey height limit.
Planners for Victoria Park had initially proposed the 18 storey buildings but were rebuffed in 2006, in accordance with original height restraints.
Victoria Park planning services manager Robert Cruickshank said they put forward an amendment option to Mr Day and he outranked council’s decision.
“We forwarded on our recommendation which was for 12 storeys to the minister’s office, they obviously received a whole heap of documents and would have seen our original proposal,” Mr Cruickshank said.
“They weighed up all the arguments and obviously considered the 18-storey as the way to go.”
It has taken six years for building plans to start, since 2006, when Campion Design Group first applied for permission to build the multi-purpose buildings.
“The hardest part was getting through the stage where the minister signed off on the 18 storeys, the concern from the public and also the councillors who were anti-height,” Mr Cruickshank said.
“Because the minister had already decided 18 storeys were permissible, the council wasn’t able to further debate.”
Each site is in close proximity to parks and the Swan River, lying on Hawthorne Place and Burswood Road respectively.
The Printing Industries Association of Australia, who owns an adjacent building, said they wouldn’t support the developments.
“We have it on good authority that this development and the long list of changes are now having an impact on the value of our property,” the association spokesperson said.
Other complaints from neighbouring sites included the height, setback requirements, overshadowing, possible damage to the environment and more.
Councillors were originally concerned the new precinct would turn into a new “Gold Coast” like area and were wary of the height implications.
“There’s probably an incorrect perception that, historically, people in tall buildings are of a low socio-economic standing,” Mr Cruickshank said.
Victoria Park hopes the new precinct and accompanying buildings will help accommodate Perth’s growing population.
“One of the key advantages is we can accommodate that growth in an area that won’t affect the character of the town,” Mr Cruickshank said.
Burswood resident Julie Street said she supported the development provided it was well planned, with the views and lifestyles of the affected residents taken into account.
Victoria Park council intend construction on the Burswood Road site to begin in October or November.