Yanchep rail extension comes to fore with looming Federal Election

Yanchep rail extension comes to fore with looming Federal Election

THE looming Federal Election has spurred a campaign for rail to Yanchep that includes a $120 million offer from a private landowner.

Yanchep Beach Joint Venture (YBJV) received advocacy support from City of Wanneroo council on Tuesday night as they considered a late report on the value capture funding model, which was tabled online a day earlier.

The timing of the decision will allow Pearce MHR Christian Porter, who hopes to be re-elected on July 2, to push the project through the Prime Minister’s Smart Cities Plan, which calls for ‘city deals’ that fund infrastructure through public-private partnerships.

YBJV’s offer, submitted to the Public Transport Authority in September 2013, is to provide $120 million in cash and in kind for an underground station, with the State and Federal governments to fund the rest of the project that potentially could cost up to $500 million.

YBJV economic development manager Jon Kelly told the Weekender that the offer aimed to get rail by 2020 to “value capture” jobs, and would expire in 2022.

“If the corridor progresses as normal, we won’t see any stations anywhere until at least 2030,” he said.

“The $120 million offer is only on the table until about 2022.

“The return on investment that we want is jobs and good social outcomes and environmental outcomes.

“The expiry date is determined by when the benefit (of delivering rail early) to the community is lost.”

A recent meeting facilitated by the City between major landowners in the north west corridor and the Department of Transport at the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) prompted another option for the landowners to collectively fund a third of the project, with the State and Federal governments each putting in another third.

The council agreed to support YBJV’s offer because it was “the only financial offer provided” but encouraged the landowners to continue to work together.

If the State and Federal governments did support the YBJV offer, it comes with a condition that only the Yanchep station is built initially, and it is given at least five years before the Alkimos and Eglinton stations are built.

“Without intervening stations, the Yanchep project will have the best chance to deliver strong economic development and employment outcomes,” YBJV chief executive Gin Wah Ang said in a letter to the City.

MORE: Yanchep rail developer says it will chip in $120 million to get trains to Yanchep by 2020.

Prior to Tuesday’s council meeting, developers gave deputations calling for the council’s support for their respective positions.

Representing the Alkimos Eglinton Landowners group, Tasio Cokis said the group had been working on getting a rail extension for 10 years and did not think the YBJV proposal was acceptable.

Instead Mr Cokis asked the council to reverse the priorities and make its first priority to get the extension with all three stations, and the fall back position to have a line to Yanchep without the Alkimos and Eglinton stations.

Citing population growth forecasts from the City’s website, he said the Alkimos-Eglinton area would have about 16,800 people by 2021 compared to about 14,700 in Yanchep and Two Rocks.

By 2026, Alkimos-Eglinton would have almost 27,600 compared to about 22,800 people in Yanchep-Two Rocks.

“The YBJV offer impedes the delivery of the stations for many years at Alkimos and Eglinton,” Mr Cokis said.

“We haven’t closed the book on any option; we would just like to explore all options prior to committing.

“We can’t value capture Alkimos and Eglinton with no stations.”

Asked by Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts where the Alkimos station would be located relative to the Butler and proposed Yanchep stations, Mr Cokis said it would be about 2.5km from Butler and 11.5km from Yanchep.

Mr Ang said rail was important for the developer, and taking the same approach repeatedly would lead to the same outcome.

“It’s not a case of ‘if we develop, the jobs will come’,” he said.

“The extension of the railway to Yanchep is vital. For the best chances of success, the railway needs to be built.

“The community will benefit from this transformational project.”

YBJV planner Mike Allen said Yanchep had long been identified as a future strategic metropolitan city and it differed from others such as Rockingham and Mandurah because their stations were not located at the heart of the city centre.

MORE: Yanchep rail: former Transport Minister approved rail extension before 2023.

Mr Kelly said the Alkimos-Eglinton plan was a “business as usual” approach compared to the YBJV option.

“This is a plan for employment,” he said, adding the target was to create 55,000 jobs.

“We are trying to create smart jobs; we are trying to create full-time jobs; we are trying to create jobs that will withstand changes in technology.

“We have a plan for the future and this involves delivering on the rail in a timely fashion.

“We welcome the participation involvement of Alkimos Eglinton landowners; nobody is cutting them out, they just need to get their act together.”

Wanneroo councillors support rail funding proposal

Councillor Brett Treby, who declared an impartiality interest due to his friendship with Mr Kelly, successfully moved to have the rail proposal brought to the front of the agenda on Tuesday.

Moving the recommendation, Mrs Roberts said rail had originally been proposed by 2020 in a 2011 plan, then last year a State Government document showed it had been pushed back beyond 2025.

Mrs Roberts said during the UDIA meeting, discussions suggested the Yanchep rail might not arrive until 2030, and the City was advocating strongly for infrastructure to meet the needs of its community.

“It’s a radical new way to fund infrastructure,” she said.

“We’ve got a private landowner looking at contributing and other landowners looking at contributing.”

Cr Dianne Guise called on other developers to get on board with the plan so they could “value capture” around the Alkimos and Eglinton stations as well.

Cr Treby said creating 55,000 jobs in Yanchep would address the imbalance of commuter numbers travelling north compared to those going towards the Perth CBD daily.

“Coming back out you could fire a gun and probably not hit anyone,” he said.

Cr Treby said the Alkimos and Eglinton stations would be built eventually, but at the normal rate of infrastructure provision by government.

“I would expect that would be around 2030 to 2035,” he said.

Mrs Roberts said if the project went ahead, the City could look at the timing for its community facilities and potentially bring some forward.

“By 2020, there is expected to be 95,000 people residing in the corridor between Tamala Park and Two Rocks – and by 2031 that number is expected to soar to 150,000,” she said.

“Our region desperately needs the rapid delivery of this vital infrastructure to cater for the population already residing in these suburbs, in addition to our future residents.

“Early provision of rail will also support local employment and create vibrant, mixed-use centres as well as enabling the first stages of tertiary and technical trades, education and commercial development.

“Everybody recognises that rail to Yanchep needs to happen – it has always been a question of when.

“It is therefore imperative that our community gets behind this much needed piece of infrastructure now and help bring it forward by signing up to the Fund Our Future campaign.”