By Claire Ottaviano
THE approval of the next phase of planning for the Mundaring multi-purpose hub – likely the largest financial decision of the Shire – was not made without considerable thought, with council debating the item for more than three hours at a special council meeting on Tuesday night.
Despite half the council speaking against the adoption of the draft Property Strategy and Land Assembly Plan (PSLAP) at some point in the debate, the end result to ‘note’ the plan for the proposed multi-purpose community facility was ultimately passed unanimously.
The Shire will now start planning and design work to progress the hub which includes seeking State and Federal Government funding, land acquisition and disposal, financial modelling and the development of a business case.
Those speaking against had concerns about the proposed relocation of some facilities, land acquisitions and disposals, unknown financial cost, wastewater treatment issues and community engagement.
Chief executive Jonathan Throssel said the PSLAP only gave staff direction on how to progress with the next phase of the plan, with major decisions such as cost, funding and land disposal options coming back to council in later stages.
The ‘hub-plus’ model, approved by council last year, co-locates a majority of existing community facilities and services such as the visitor’s centre, library, arts and exhibition spaces as well as community and health services into a single stand-alone building.
Item mover Toni Burbidge, who voted against the hub-plus model, said it was time to move forward.
“We’ve spent a couple of years on this and more than $100,000 to get to this point,” she said.
“Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.
“We need to have good data behind us yes, but this is what this plan and process is doing – it’s going to give us a roadmap forward to see what we want and how much it’s going to cost, and then it’s up to council to decide.”
She said the largest risk to the Shire was council not supporting the plan before them.
“Richard Branson said ‘every risk is worth taking as long as it’s for a good cause and contributes to a good life’, I’ m here to give my community something good, to bring along a town centre we can develop.
“It’s my remit to perhaps take a little risk and say let’s see where this goes, let’s look at the next phase, stage, step.”
The facility is proposed between Craig, Nichol and Jacoby Streets and Mundaring Weir Road with Nichol Street to be enhanced as a main street.
Activated street frontages and vibrant public spaces, contemporary design of new buildings, mixed use buildings, and a new civic and cultural heart of Mundaring are also proposed.
President John Daw said the long-term project was still only in its early stages.
“Council is looking forward to evaluating the business case,” Cr Daw said.
“A vital component will be ongoing community and stakeholder engagement, particularly liaising with the community about the look and feel.
“This is consistent with the recommendations within the Project Road-Map.”