Tag Archive | "Tourism"

Equus apartment owners arc up again - this time about amended hotel plans.

‘Council treating us like illiterate knuckleheads’

CHRIS THOMSON

Owners of flats in one of Perth’s biggest apartment blocks have expressed anger at a 20-storey hotel planned by the owners of the Rydges and QT hotel chains for the site of the defunct Greater Union cinema on the corner of Murray and Barrack streets in the CBD.

oneperth.com.au can reveal that a lawyer has been engaged to complain on behalf of the owners of Equus apartments about the pictured hotel, proposed by landowner Amalgamated Holdings Limited for the corner of Barrack and Hay streets.

In 2013, Amalgamated, which operates Greater Union cinemas, and the Rydges and QT hotel brands, had the pictured hotel approved. However, with Perth in the grip of an extended property slump, the approval was set to lapse and in August the company received the okay from a state planning panel to extend the original approval until August 15, 2017.

greater union skyscraperNow, Amalgamated has requested amendments including a larger number of smaller dwellings on levels 15 to 17, and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Perth City Council believes the windows are “an improvement from the previous design”.

However, when the project came up for approval in 2013, obstruction of views from Equus had been raised as an issue by objectors.

Glen McLeod of Glen McLeod Legal claims to represent the owners of Equus, and opines that Amalgamated’s statement to the council that the windows will allow better views from the new building to be “evidence of a selfish intention to benefit the hotel at the expense of the amenity of the Equus building.”

In a separate submission, Equus resident Mathew Fry disputes the amendments are minor.

“I don’t believe that the major window openings for the proposed development set back of 3.6m is far from adequate privacy for residents,” Mr Fry says.

B and J Potulski also claim the amendments are not minor.

“From our perspective it is very disappointing to see our council treating us like illiterate knuckleheads,” the Potulskis lament.

“This is extremely disrespectful.”

One apartment owner, Jeff Robson, CEO of Access Analytic, disagrees with the naysayers.

“… I wish to express my full support for this,” Mr Robson has submitted to the council.

“Living in an inner city location as we do, the other owners should expect that other high-rise developments will occur and that some of these will be near Equus.

“The existing [Greater Union] building is such an eyesore.

“I think everyone would be far better off if there were a beautiful hotel there instead.”

In the past, Equus owners have been vocal opponents of both the planned hotel, and Ambar night club’s mooted move from Murray Street to Barrack Street which never ended up happening.

The council has recommended that Amalgamated’s amendments be approved. A state panel will decide the hotel’s fate on January 14.

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Overshadowed by Elizabeth Quay, Perth bell tower to chime in with big new attraction.

Design of great Anzac bell revealed

CHRIS THOMSON

Recently overshadowed by the hoopla surrounding adjacent Elizabeth Quay, the Perth Bell Tower is set to chime back in to the tourism spotlight with the pictured great Anzac bell.

A great bell has always been planned for the tower and the pictured 6.5-tonne Anzac bell would appear to fit the bill.

The tower’s current 17 bells are made up of 12 bells from St Martin-in-the-Fields and five bells from the London diocese of the Church of England and the parish of St Martin-in- the-Fields. These bells were given to the people of Western Australia as part of the nation’s bicentennial celebrations in 1988.

The Swan Bells Foundation wants the new bell to recognise all Australian service men and women involved in wars, conflict and peacekeeping operations.

The foundation has received a Lotterywest grant of $300,000, and more than $100,000 cash from private donations and the RSL, together with a donation of Australian copper and tin for the bell valued at $178,000.

The pictured bell design has been created by an outfit called Juice Creative.

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41-floor skyscraper to replace the New Esplanade Hotel.

Big Sheraton to overlook Elizabeth Quay

CHRIS THOMSON

EXCLUSIVE: International hotel chain Sheraton wants to erect a 41-level luxury hotel on the doorstep of Elizabeth Quay.

If approved, the pictured Sheraton would rise on The Esplanade, across the street from where Elizabeth Quay is slowly taking shape.

The $110 million hotel would be built on the site of the existing 10-floor New Esplanade Hotel which would be demolished.

New Sheraton Hotel to overlook Elizabeth Quay on The Esplanade PerthThe shiny new Sheraton tower would contain 196 hotel rooms and 89 apartments, 138 residential car parking bays and 67 commercial tenant car parking bays.

The hotel component would house 139 x 33sqm king rooms, 32 x 31 sqm double rooms, 15 x 46sqm junior suites, nine 45sqm universal access rooms, and one 64 sqm executive suite for when Lady Gaga comes to town.

Levels 40 and 41 would each have one 182 sqm, four-bedroom, four-bathroom apartments with 54sqm balcony, one two-bedroom plus study and two-bathroom apartment with balcony, and three two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments with balconies.

The eleventh floor would house a ballroom, again to cater for the specialist requirements of Lady Gaga.

The Ritz Carlton chain has confirmed it will build a hotel at Elizabeth Quay proper.

Perspective by Hassell Architects

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Southwest town will never be the same, as Rinehart milkery makes its secretive move.

Gina’s dairyland obscured from public view

CHRIS THOMSON

SEPTEMBER 3 UPDATE: On September 1, a state assessment panel unanimously approved the Bannister Downs expansion plans, after the Shire of Manjimup agreed to withhold information from the public. Manjimup Shire public relations officer Gina Nieuwendyk refused to answer oneperth.com.au questions over precisely what information was withheld, whether any elected officials had a say in the process, whether any of them declared an interest in the project, and whether the shire acknowledged that obscuring the plans from public view was a factor in not one public submission being received on this town-transforming project. Ms Nieuwendyk initially claimed the council was “unable to comment on the basis that this application is part of a statutory process” to be considered by a state planning panel. Soon after the state panel had made its decision, oneperth.com.au relodged its questions with Ms Nieuwendyk. We received nothing from her but stony silence. You can read our unanswered questions here.

EXCLUSIVE: The tiny town of Northcliffe in Southwest WA is in for a big shakeup with a local dairy set to increase its output sixfold, and throw its doors open to busloads of tourists, thanks to a $22 million revamp catalysed by a cashed-up Gina Rinehart and obscured from public view during a recent consultation period.

Mrs Rinehart, Australia’s richest person, bought into Northcliffe’s Bannister Downs dairy in December last year.

Northcliffe, Population 412, sits about 350 kilometres south of Perth, and Bannister Downs is already one of the town’s main employers.

Bannister Downs development plansoneperth.com.au has learned that, if approved by a state assessment panel at a meeting in Manjimup’s shire offices at 2pm on September 1, the $22 million dairy overhaul (pictured) will allow Bannister Downs to operate 24 hours a day.

“We recognise that the new … creamery will have a considerable impact for the town of Northcliffe, bringing in tourists, visitors, workers and new business,” says a Bannister Downs document seen by oneperth.com.au.

“Despite its location, some seven kilometres away from the town centre, the new facility has an important civic role to play in creating a memorable destination for Northcliffe.”

Bannister Downs Northcliffle project plansoneperth.com.au can reveal that the pictured dairy has already received the support of Manjimup shire, after the shire agreed to hide details of the project from public view.

At the request of Bannister Downs, the shire took the unusual step of withholding information on the detailed operation and layout of the planned dairy from the Northcliffe community, in order to maintain the company’s commercial confidentiality.

At the end of a two-week consultation period that was advertised in a regional ‘news’paper, not one objection was lodged on the futuristic concept.

Bannister Downs dairy plans“None of the information that was removed affected the public’s ability to ascertain the type, nature or size of the development proposed,” asserts a shire document seen by oneperth.com.au.

The images, published here for the first time by a news outlet, but drafted for Bannister Downs co-owners Sue and Matt Daubney in May, were marked: “IN CONFIDENCE NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION”.

Bannister Downs was founded by the locally-prominent Daubney family in 1924.

Marketing itself as “global leaders in ethical dairy”, the company specialises in high-end milk products now available throughout metropolitan Perth.

Bannister Downs development plansThe farm has reached its production limit of 5 million litres a year, and Bannister Downs wants to increase that sixfold, to 30 million litres.

A new dairy, milk production plant, 56-seat public café, offices and 59 car bays are on the cards in and around a 5000sqm, two-floor building.

Also planned are an automated milking rotary that’s capable of handling a herd of 500 cows.

Bannister Downs has told the shire it intends to keep focusing on the production of fresh milk and related products, including flavoured milk and cream.

The dairy says that making the plant accessible to the public will promote “the corporate image of Bannister Downs as a sustainable and innovative company”.

Images: Bosske Architecture, Mt Lawley.

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Private sector resort like nothing ever seen before at Perth's island playground.

This is what the Rottnest marina will look like

CHRIS THOMSON

Here you have it – the first publicly available plan of the Rottnest Island marina and resort that the Barnett Government wants a private sector developer to erect on its behalf.

Yesterday, in yet another musical media release titled ‘Tide is high for Rottnest resort and marina’ (apologies to Blondie) Deputy Premier Kim Hames announced the new resort and 250-berth marina at Thomson Bay.

The release was light-on for pics of the marina though, so today, oneperth.com.au obliges.

The government is spruiking the marina and resort as an “unparallelled opportunity” for developers to get in on, and the “most exciting and substantive development opportunity in the island’s history”.

Rottnest marina pictureThe state says the marina will be the first and only formal marina complex on the Island. Berths will range from 10 to 30 metres in length.

As a seperate project, the Rottnest Island Authrity will build a barge landing ramp nearby.

Additional facilities at the marina may include a fuel outlet, boat chandlery, and boardwalk with cafe and bar.

“The resort and marina project is the most exciting and substantial development opportunity ever presented to the market,” a government document claims.

“It is a once in a century project of great significance to the island.”

The purportedly “sensational” resort and marina project is being offered by international expressions of interest until 4pm on September 18.

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Southwest brewery under 'great pressure from the public', says owner in face of localised opposition.

Moody Cow ‘desperate’ to up patronage

CHRIS THOMSON

The operator of a boutique brewery in the state’s Southwest says he is “desperate” to increase the venue’s maximum patronage from 120 to 200, after four local households succeeded in kyboshing the extra punters earlier this year.

Grant McClintock has been running his Moody Cow brewery on a big block at Dardanup since May 2010. Late in 2013, he managed to lure Australian jazz virtuoso James Morrison to blow his trumpet at the brewery.

However, a decision by the state’s liquor licensing director to approve an increase in patronage from 120 to 200 was overturned by the WA Liquor Commissioner in January. This was after Ferguson Valley locals Tyrell and Jennifer Gardiner, Brian Humphreys, Michael and Irene Bell, and Stephen and Catherine Miller objected to the director’s decision.

Now, in a new liquor licence application, Mr McClintock says he is under “great pressure from the public” to cater for more patrons.

He also says he has “reached a point of desperation” in terms of needing the increase in capacity to meet public demand.

Chairman of the Ferguson Valley Marketing & Promotions Inc., Mick Bennett, who is also Dardanup Shire president, recently wrote to tell Mr McClintock his brewery had doubled tourism to the area.

“You can be proud of the business you have developed in the Valley and my personal belief is that you, and you alone, inclreased the visiopt numbers in the Valley by 100 per cent and all others are the benefactors,” Mr Bennett wrote.

Bunbury mayor Gary Brennan wrote in similarly glowing terms.

“It is a significant drawcard, not just for the ferguson Valley, but for the whole Bunbury region and caters for locals as well as visitors to the region,” Mr Brennan opined.

“Moody Cow brewery is one of the few facilities in our region that offers a truly family friendly atmosphere whilst having very minimal impact on the surrounding environment.”

Objections or letters of support for Moody Cow’s patronage expansion plan must be lodged with the Department of Racing, Gaming & Liquor before September 1.

Moody Cow logo: From the brewery’s liquor licence application.

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Shark barrier plan for Quinns, Yanchep

CHRIS THOMSON

EXCLUSIVE: Quinns and Yanchep beaches in Perth’s outer north could each have an Eco shark barrier as early as the 2016/17 summer under a plan hatched by the mayor of Wanneroo.

Wanneroo mayor Tracey Roberts has requested a feasibility study into the nets, one of which has featured at Coogee Beach in Perth’s southern suburbs for the past two summers.

“There are currently no beach areas located within the City which contain any form of shark barrier to provide beach users with protection against shark attacks,” Ms Roberts says in a notice seen by oneperth.com.au.

“Shark barriers also increase the confidence of beach users creating a calm and enjoyable beach atmosphere where shark attacks are not considered as a potential threat to swimmers.

“The ability for our community to safely and confidently utilise the City’s beach locations without the potential threat or thoughts of shark attacks is of critical importance and warrants the need to investigate the feasibility of installation of shark barriers.”

If the cost adds up and there are no other unsurmountable speed bumps, Ms Roberts wants to launch the shark barrier at Quinns and Yanchep beaches by the summer of 2016/17.

The council administration has indicated support for the mayor’s requested feasibility study, upon which the full council is set to vote on May 26.

In 2013/14 the Eco shark barrier was trialled for the first time in Western Australia at Coogee. The trial was declared a success and has now been extended for a further three years starting next summer.

In October last year, the Town of Cottesloe approved an Eco shark barrier for Perth’s best known beach –Cottesloe. The council approval is yet to receive the final State Government nod.

Photo: ‘Sharkdiver68’, Wikimedia Commons

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Hyatt hotel for Leighton Beach

CHRIS THOMSON

EXCLUSIVE: An ugly hole in the ground that has blighted North Fremantle‘s Leighton Beach for half a decade since the end of the last big property boom is set to be partly filled by a five-floor Hyatt Place hotel.

If eventually approved by a state assessment panel, the 100-room Hyatt Place will rise at the northeast corner of  Mirvac’s levelled but vacant block across Curtin Avenue from North Fremantle train station.

Hyatt Hotel Leighton Beach FremantleA rooftop function space with views over the beach, and a swimming pool, are also on the drawing board for the pictured hotel.

A bar, take-away food outlet, herb garden, and shuttle bus from the airport, are also planned.

The building would have a rootop photovoltaic system big enough to meet 20 per cent of the hotel’s energy requirements.

Renders: Campion Design Group

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Indoor skydiving coming to Perth

CHRIS THOMSON

It’s indoor skydiving in a 14-foot diameter vertical glass wind tunnel – and it’s coming to Perth.

iFLY, owned by an Australian Stock Exchange listed company called Indoor Skydive Australia (ISA) Group Limited, opened its first indoor skydiving centre in Penrith, NSW last year.

Now iFLY is spreading its wings to the inner eastern Perth suburb of Rivervale.

If approved by a state planning panel on March 18, as recommended by the City of Belmont, the $6.5 million, four-storey premises (pictured) will host daredevils from the general public from 9am to 11pm, and provide a training venue for military personnel from midnight to 8am.

iFLY indoor skydiving PerthThe centre itself would have a frequent flyers club, VIP room, and operate 24/7.

ISA wants its Rivervale iFLY operating by mid-2016 at the corner of Great Eastern Highway and Belmont Avenue.

The company is building another iFLY in Surfers Paradise which it plans to open in mid-2015.

iFLYs are also planned for Adelaide and Melbourne.

In order to build the Perth iFLY, an existing showroom on the prominent Rivervale site will need to be demolished.

Renders: Gresley Abas Architects

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Hotel pool to span two towers

CHRIS THOMSON

EXCLUSIVE: In a sign of what Perth has become, a hotel swimming pool stretching mid-air between two skyscrapers has been recommended for state government approval.

The pictured plans for a 29-storey hotel with 150 hotel rooms and 18 apartments have received the City of Perth thumb’s up for a block of land that runs between Pier and Nash streets in Perth, not far from McIver train station.

Perth hotel pool to span two towersTogether with a 16-storey office building also planned for the site, the project is expected  to cost $145 million to erect.

The main gimmick to draw tourists in is a rectangular swimming pool set to stretch between the two buildings at the 16th floor.

Adding even more razzle-dazzle to the already flamboyant proposal are four portholes that would allow begoggled swimmers to peer through the pool floor to the ground below.

The pan-tower pool is a mini version of the pool that sprawls atop the world’s second most expensive building, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore.

Perth hotel pool to span two towersThe Pier Street site is owned by an outfit called Yuanlong (Aust) Investment Group Pty Ltd. The plans were developed by the Brisbane office of Marchese Partners architects, and submitted by TPG Town Planning Group.

TPG has told the City of Perth that while the project is undoubtedly ambitious, a structural report indicates it is buildable.

The company concedes that detailed design of the pool has not yet been undertaken, but that an approach to its design and construction has been discussed and agreed between the architect and engineer.

A state panel is scheduled to assess Perth council’s recommendation of approval at a meeting on February 26.

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Marriott hotel design rejected

CHRIS THOMSON

A city design committee has rejected the design of a 23-level hotel planned by high-end international hotel chain Marriott for Wellington Street in the Perth CBD, and sent the architects back to their drawing board.

The committee, chaired by Government Architect Geoff Warn, and appointed by Perth City Council, was unanimously unimpressed by the pictured renders of the Marriott Courtyard hotel planned for 609 Wellington Street, opposite the gargantuan Perth City Link project.

marriott courtyard hotel perthAt a recent meeting, the committee refused to endorse the design of the $47 million, 330-room, hotel, recommending that more work be done.

“The lower levels of the development do not reference the adjoining heritage building and fail to reflect the intricate urban rhythm of the southern side of Wellington Street and, therefore, do not make a positive contribution to the streetscape or to the pedestrian experience of the city,” the committee opined.

The upper floors also copped some architectural critique, despite a 13-minute presentation on the blueprints by Alan Stewart and Daniel Hollingworth of Rowe Group planning consultants which had submitted the renders for council consideration.

The committee complained it had not received a faithful facsimile of what would actually be built, and asked that Rowe Group submit “realistic elevations and perspectives that reflect the floor plans”.

Pictured renders of planned Marriott Courtyard Hotel are as submitted by Rowe Group.

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Theatre Centre fears lesser liquor licence

CHRIS THOMSON

Managers of the State Theatre Centre in Northbridge are concerned their landmark venue will wind up with the licensing status of a suburban tavern, after objections from Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan to the venue’s bid for a more tourist-friendly drinking environment.

The centre (pictured) is managed by a company called AEG Ogden which on November 1 last year asked the state Director of Liquor Licensing to approve a variation of the venue’s special facility liquor licence to allow tourists visiting the centre to have a drink without the need to see a show.

In its submission to the liquor licensing director, AEG Ogden argued that so many tourists were now visiting the centre that guided tours were now being offered.

But, as he does with most liquor licence applications, Dr O’Callaghan objected, arguing AEG Ogden had not demonstrated the theatre enhances Western Australia’s tourism industry.

Dr O’Callaghan stressed it was beyond the director’s power to amend conditions of a special facility licence to include the selling of liquor to the general public.

In an interim decision handed down in late November – more than a year after AEG Ogden lodged its application – Brett Snell, a delegate of the director, agreed and ordered that a tavern licence would need to be applied for.

AEG Ogden had argued the centre had the same status in the arts world of Western Australia as the Sydney Opera House and Victoria’s arts centre have in the eastern states.

The company had also claimed that any type of licence other than the special facility one it already had would be a “downgrade”, and shunt the state’s premier theatrical venue into the same category as a suburban tavern.

Mr Snell disagreed, saying there was no hierarchy of liquor licence types in the great sandy state.

He said he would be prepared to allow liquor sales to tourists if AEG Ogden agreed to have its application treated as a tavern licence application.

He deferred his decision, giving the company 14 days to decide whether it wanted to have the application treated as a tavern licence application.

We’ll let you know how things turn out.

 

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Space age kiosk after eon of red tape

CHRIS THOMSON

A space age visitor information booth has finally opened in Forrest Place after spending two-and-a-half years bogged in a quagmire of red tape.

oneperth.com.au revealed plans for the so-called iCity Visitor Information Booth as far back as May, 2012. At that point the booth had already been on the drawing boards for quite some time.

And at that time, council officers pronounced the big, hairy audacious goal (BHAG) that the pod be built by October 2012.

Forrest Place information booth

The new pod, and in concept form above, right, in 2012 when it was slated for completion by the end of the year.

But Council House moves to the beat of a bureaucratic drummer, and Perth mayor Lisa Scaffidi, while staying mum on the virtues of the pod itself, today seemed happy enough that volunteer information providers would at last have somewhere permanent to sit.

“Our iCity volunteers have been part of Perth for 13 years and their hard work and dedication to the city is incredible,” Ms Scaffidi extolled.

“Each year they assist over 200,000 visitors to find their way around our beautiful city as well as providing tips and suggestions on things to see and do.

As well as staffing the booth, the volunteers regularly conduct orientation walking tours as well as five specialty tours of the city.

“The City is proud to have these passionate individuals as city ambassadors and a valued part of the organisation and I am sure they are going to enjoy this new facility,” Ms Scaffidi went on.

The fibreglass structure was constructed offsite and transported to its new Forrest Place home where the final touches were completed.

The booth will open 9.30am to 4.30pm five days a week, 9.30am to 8pm Fridays and 11am to 3.30pm Sundays.

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The designated Hilton style

CHRIS THOMSON

After bowing to the design demands of a Perth city committee, the international Hilton chain looks set to have a 17-level, $30 million, hotel approved on James Street in Northbridge.

In August, oneperth.com.au revealed that the City of Perth’s design advisory committee had slammed Hilton’s plans to erect a DoubleTree brand hotel on the main street of Perth’s main party and red light precinct.

Hilton Northbridge

Before …

Based on the committee’s distaste, Hilton scrapped the original design (pictured, left) and went back to the drawing board.

Now, oneperth.com.au has learned the city has recommended approval of a revised design (pictured above and below, right).

The new design is set to replace a five-level BankWest-owned building three doors down from the Brass Monkey Hotel and across James Street from the salubrious Taboo nightspot.

If approved by a state government assessment panel at a meeting on October 9, and built as planned, the 206 room hotel will have two restaurants, a swimming pool, general store and gymnasium.

Hilton Northbridge

… and after the committee’s tinkering.

The hotel would be made from prefabricated modular units.

Owners of 40 surrounding properties were consulted on the plans.

Not one objection or indication of support was received.

In March, Hilton announced it planned to build two other DoubleTrees in Perth – on Riverside Drive near the colourfully-named Lucky Shag hotel, and in Fremantle.

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