‘I think that in the long term a government will recognise it’s a large tract of land in the city, and it’s very likely a government will see the potential for $700 million to $800 million of land for sale, but not in my lifetime,’ he said.
Before the concept was publicly launched last week, Claremont councillors were briefed by RAS president Rob Wilson on the uncosted ideas for the 110-year-old site, comprising about seven hectares owned by the RAS and about 22ha of Crown Land in trust for promoting agriculture.
Mr Barker said the concept showed current Showgrounds uses with ‘just’ new buildings, and the site’s possible replacement would not affect Claremont and its ‘sense of place’ because residents identified with the Swan River, the growing shopping centre, Claremont Park and the coast.
Dr Wilson said the RAS was committed to the Showgrounds and the public wanted the site to continue as the Perth Royal Show’s home.
‘One of the critical elements of the concept plan is the ability for year-round educational opportunities in an agrarian setting and the pavilion and exhibition options will provide the opportunity to do this,’ he said
The RAS spent $250,000 and three years developing the concept that proposes developing homes on a 4500sqm triangle on Aston Avenue land, country students’ short-term accommodation and an arena closer to spectators, with the addition of a veranda.
Agriculture research and farm education facilities could be established, with market square at a new Davies Road entry, while Hardy Avenue in the Showgrounds could be an arts and performance precinct with agricultural pavilions at the northeast corner of the site.
Dr Wilson said the RAS would seek partners in government, agriculture and research but, other than the triangle of land, no other sites would be sold for the revamp.
RAS chief executive Peter Cooper said the concept was needed so the RAS could have control over its future, with the first work done in five years.
Public consultation on the concept starts next month. Visit www.ras.wa.org.au