R.I.P. Esplanade

It hadn't really occurred to me until I saw this post on AHiP that ARM's waterfront proposal was really going ahead. I thought it was just another one of the hundreds of waterfront proposals but no, construction is starting next year!

This raises a number of questions for me:

Why is 'the most significant thing happening in our capital city, certainly within the last 100 years' (Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi) not going to a Perth architect? What is it about ARM that has allowed them to win both the Waterfront and the Arena?

What about the last 130 years? Scaffidi's statement diverts attention away from this site's history. The Esplanade Reserve was the first piece of land to be reclaimed for public recreation in 1880, the rest of the landing strip/doormat followed later. I know it is a bit of a peculiarity but it has long acted as a site for temporary shows - where will these now go?

Is reclaiming reclaimed land moving forwards, or backwards? If we are going to be returning what was 'historically' river to its original state, then what about Mounts Bay and the freeway interchange?

Is bringing the river to the city really going to make Perth a 'vibrant waterfront city'? Why can't the city come to the river?

How much consideration was given to this place's permanent position on the State Register of Heritage Places and how will this affect what is to be built? Is the aesthetic, historic, scientific and social value of this site to be rendered meaningless? See here for HCWA's register document and assessment document.

What will happen to all the beautiful Moreton Bay figs?

What do you think?

See also:
Funding in 2011-2012 Budget - note in particular “The Indigenous Cultural Centre will be situated over the water at the southern end of William Street and is planned to be a nationally significant centre for indigenous culture, art and learning. The timing and budget for this will be set as the major construction of the waterfront nears completion.' i.e. the Indigenous Cultural Centre is not part of the major construction?
Metropolitan Region Scheme Amendment 1203/41
Environmental Assessment Report
Both the MRSA 1203/41 and EAR are open for public comment, submissions must be received by 27 May.  Anyone with me?


FJE said...

I think water creates interest in a place, and people enjoy being next to it.

I'm really in two minds about this one. I really want to see the city connect with the river, because I think it will add to the variety of experience in the city, and capitalise on one of Perth's best features (sorry Robin) but on the other hand I don't want to see that particular piece of landscape go.

I like the way the scheme gathers people, and resolves the riverside drive problem. I don't like the massive skyscrapers, because they won't be done well (they could be, but they won't). 'Fine grain' people!

AJH said...

Just tried to post but it didn't work and just ate all my words. Just wanted to say a few things about the interim listing, maybe later.

HG said...

I would like to see a better connection to the river as well, however there are two possible approaches: bringing the city to the river, or the river to the city. Moving a river seems a little over the top to me, and also suggests that the city is not capable of expanding finely over time. However it could be that reinstating a squarey piece of river was the only way they could get around the 'public recreation' zoning.

I would like to hear more about the design of the skyscrapers and wish one could see the DD/WD set for this!

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