To progress its longstanding vision to unlock the significant tourism potential of the heritage listed South Fremantle Power Station site, the City of Cockburn will request the State Government form a joint steering group to guide and drive its future activation.
The City will write to Energy Minister Bill Johnson and Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk requesting the State Government establish a steering group with the City and Development WA to coordinate community engagement to determine planning principles for the site adjacent to Chelydra Beach.
The decision follows the State Government’s 23 June advertisement of the circa 1950s power station for sale by expression of interest, with Synergy expected to announce the successful bidder in September.
The steering group, which would review opportunities with the State’s preferred proponent, would develop overarching planning principles to establish an achievable vision to ensure the project’s success.
Apart from transforming the iconic building into a landmark destination, other opportunities include relocating the Western Power switchyard and power lines for possible replacement with a smart substation and mega battery, and repurposing the freight rail line and its associated corridor.
City of Cockburn Chief of Built and Natural Environment, Daniel Arndt, said the City would request that the State Government appropriately fund and resource the initiative, and transfer control and responsibility for the site to Development WA (formerly Landcorp).
With the City, Development WA has successfully delivered the Cockburn Coast project since 2009 and is a major landholder in the Robb Jetty precinct, facilitating most of the development and infrastructure in that area.
“The successful reuse and redevelopment of the buildings and site, including relocation of the Western Power South Fremantle terminal substation switchyard, are critical to unlocking the potential of the surrounding land and the Cockburn Coast area as a whole,” Mr Arndt said.
“It is critical to investigate relocation opportunities for the switchyard and high voltage powerlines away from the coast, including upgrading the infrastructure to a smart substation and mega battery to a new location.
“A number of options were examined in 2008 by a working group comprising Western Power, the then Department of Planning and Landcorp, and further detailed investigations were to confirm an alternative site, but this has not occurred to date.
“It’s pertinent for the City to take a proactive approach to the future of the site and the coastal precinct. The power station has significant value as an iconic coastal landmark with significant tourism potential.
“As planning for the site will take some time, it is vital to have an interim maintenance plan to prevent further deterioration of the site, which will compromise the building’s reuse.”
The steering group would also explore opportunities to review the rail line in the area and future options for public transport between Fremantle and Cockburn Central, via Port Coogee and also connecting to the Australian Marine Complex.
“If the State Government proceeds with its plans and commitment to relocate Fremantle Port Operations to Westport in Kwinana, requirements for heavy freight into Fremantle will cease,” Mr Arndt said.
“This will open up significant opportunities for alternative uses for the freight rail line and the corridor, possibly enabling new and alternate forms of public transport which can activate the coast up to Fremantle.”