Ben Wyatt backs City of Canning on expediting Bentley Regeneration Project

Treasurer Ben Wyatt.
Treasurer Ben Wyatt.

VICTORIA Park MLA Ben Wyatt has backed a City of Canning motion to expedite the Bentley Regeneration Project with the Housing Authority.

However, while backing the call for progress, Mr Wyatt said demolishing Brownlie Towers was not a likely or preferred outcome.

Mr Wyatt said he shared the frustration over the stalled project, which is slated to regenerate approximately 25ha in Bentley into mixed housing and commercial space.

“When I was first elected nearly 11 years ag,o I was briefed on how this was all about to happen and it has been one of my perpetual frustrations that this has been delayed and delayed… Some by the suspension of council, some through flawed discussion over abolishing the City of Canning, and then the project losing out to other priorities,” he said.

Mr Wyatt said he would like to see the entire area completed and capitalising on its proximity to Curtin University and the CBD.

“This is one of the last if not the last inner-city development with a land holding of this size owned by the State Government, so there is an opportunity regardless of who is in power to develop something unique,” he said.

“People are sick and tired of seeing this vast, empty dark space and all the negative issues that brings with crime and antisocial behaviour and it’s just time to get on with the job… (if elected) as a State Treasurer I would not want to see valuable assets like this sit under-utilised for over a decade.”

Housing Authority general manager of commercial operations Nigel Hindmarsh disputed the project had been delayed, citing a recent City of Canning resolution on the Canning Aquatic Centre.

“The Bentley Regeneration Project has not stalled. It remains a priority project for the Housing Authority, with a number of milestones achieved through 2016 and others on-track for 2017,” he said.

“Housing continues to work towards finalising the project’s land assembly with the City of Canning and the Department of Lands, with a view to commencing the procurement of a private-sector development partner in 2017.”

Mr Hindmarsh said any development would depend on market conditions and anticipated the project would have a phased roll out.

Mr Wyatt said it was time to get on with the job.

“We’ve known for years that we can create a vibrant village and hub, but it’s just been delayed ad nauseam for a bloody long time and I think people are sick of it,” he said.