OPPOSITION to road extensions as part of the Scarborough redevelopment has sparked a renewed push for light rail as an option for Scarborough and the Stirling City Centre.
Planning Minister Donna Faragher recently pledged to investigate alternatives to the roads because of public outcry about the proposed extensions, which would run through two Bush Forever sites.
“I have asked the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) to consider alternate options to the proposed extensions of The Esplanade,” she said.
“Providing that any alternatives presented meet the same objective of improving access to and from the beachfront, and can be delivered within the current project budget, they will be considered as part of that process.”
Stirling Mayor Giovanni Italiano said light rail would be an appropriate solution for congestion on major corridors like Scarborough Beach Road and Beaufort Street.
“Scarborough will be a great destination and light rail to the beachfront would provide a fantastic drawcard for both locals and visitors and is much needed to reduce the reliance on cars,” he said.
“The road reservations required to accommodate light rail have been reserved and planning for mixed use development in these areas is nearing completion.
“The City is working closely with our local communities and advocating for light rail to both the State and Federal Government.”
Cr Italiano said the City was advocating the State Government, State Opposition and the Federal Government for light rail funding.
Curtin University sustainability and urban planning expert Peter Newman said the plans for light rail required the Government to embrace a similar approach as the eastern states.
“I believe that there are enough good development sites between Curtin and the city and then out to Stirling City Centre to enable a light rail to be built without government capital being required,” Professor Newman said.
“This approach is now happening in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne but we have been slow to take it up in Perth.”
“Light rail lends itself to development-based funding but the Department of Transport only seem to know how to build using government funds (which no longer exist) so they did not take it seriously in any of their plans.”
Prof Newman said the City of Stirling was one of the few WA councils to plan to accommodate light rail.
“Stirling have been one of the few councils that have seen the value in doing this without government funds but have not been able to get past the Department of Transport – perhaps the election might focus attention on this issue,” he said.