The City of Cockburn welcomes today’s State Government announcement that it will seek expressions of interest from private investors to potentially buy and redevelop the abandoned South Fremantle Power Station.
Mayor Logan Howlett said the City had a strong interest in the circa 1950s power station as an iconic landmark on the Cockburn coastline, since it ceased operation in September 1985.
“This abandoned building, which is much-loved by the local and wider community, is the missing puzzle piece to realising the full potential of the Cockburn coast,” Mayor Howlett said.
“Cockburn and its neighbouring coastal local governments are growth areas with strong employment and residential nodes, and established and developing tourism markets.
“A sympathetic redevelopment of this Art Deco industrial structure will add immense value not only to North Coogee in the City of Cockburn but to the south metropolitan coastal region as a whole.”
The building was entered onto the State Heritage Register on 8 June this year after it was first adopted for listing in 2011. The City of Cockburn listed it on its Municipal Inventory in April 2014.
In 2018 the City approached Synergy and Landcorp (now Development WA), to consider replacing the State Government’s 2014 plan for full restoration of the power station with a more financially affordable solution to open up some sections for uses like playgrounds, outdoor cinema, art displays, BMX events, functions and performances.
The City would also strongly support any State Government move to invest in relocation of the adjacent switching yard which needs significant funding to modernise its operation in the next decade.
“There is an opportunity to relocate the imposing powerlines away from the coast and build a modern new switching substation and large scale battery which not only enables development of this iconic coastal location but also creates a sustainable energy solution and future,” Mayor Howlett said.
“Investing funds to relocate the switching yard would reverse some constraints of the site, opening it up for alternative uses, including restoring the building to showcase its cathedral-like spaces, austere interior, raw materials and design; a perfect backdrop for a variety of public uses.
“In February 2020 the City completed community consultation on the future direction for creative spaces in Cockburn, and it demonstrated an overwhelming need for spaces and locations for local, neighbouring and visiting artists, performers, musicians and craftspeople to practice, share and showcase their talents,” Mayor Howlett said.
“The power station, which is so recognisable in the Cockburn landscape, is high on a wish list as a focus for arts activity in the City, as is the case at similar revitalised facilities around the world.
“It’d be fantastic to see the abandoned South Fremantle Power Station take on a similar profile to the East Perth Power Station which is now the subject of a $218m redevelopment, announced by the Premier in April 2020, following Development WA’s intention to revitalise the landmark into a vibrant waterfront community.”
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