The WA Government says it will work to bring the City of Subiaco on board with its proposed new inner-city high school in Perth, but is warning it has “the other option if necessary”.
The Government has scrapped its plan to move Perth Modern School to a high-rise at the Perth City Link project, and instead wants to develop the Subiaco Oval with a new high school and housing development.
The proposed site is Kitchener Park and Subiaco Oval — state-owned land currently vested in the City of Subiaco.
The council is yet to adopt a formal position on the plan but could play hard-ball with the Government over an agreement.
Premier Mark McGowan said he hoped to gain the support of the council and others.
“We’d like to work with the local council and community to make sure the option goes through those processes, but of course we have the other option if necessary,” Mr McGowan said.
The ABC understands the “other option” is the Government could just acquire the land it needs under existing laws.
The City of Subiaco council said it would meet “behind closed doors” during a special meeting next week to consider the proposal.
Deputy Opposition Leader Liza Harvey warned the Government against a “big stick” approach with the council.
“[It’s no good] if they’re going with their jackboots on to pick a fight with the City of Subiaco, to try and excise land that was vested to the city for other purposes and use their numbers to basically bulldoze a hastily-thought out high school site, ” Ms Harvey said.
“They’re not going to get the school open in time.”
Subiaco Oval will be turned into a shared community oval as part of the proposed precinct. (Supplied: WA Govt)
WACA redevelopment, future left unclear
The decision to build the school in Subiaco has cast doubt over plans for the WA Football Commission (WAFC) to relocate to the WACA Ground in East Perth, as part of a multi-million-dollar makeover of the stadium.
“At the moment, all those plans are up in the air. I don’t see a great deal changing,” WA’s Sports Minister Mick Murray said.
A proposed redevelopment of the WACA Ground requires $175 million in state funding. (ABC News: James Maasdorp )
“I think it’s up to the two parties themselves to sit down and see where they want to go in the future and we’ll try and assist with that.
“We just can’t keep building stadiums here, there and everywhere, so we’ll be looking at the long-term future and making sure that everyone is accommodated.”
Mr Murray said he was unsure what would happen to the WACA, but insisted it would not become irrelevant.
Speaking to ABC Radio Perth, the WAFC said it had not closed the door on the WACA deal, but was keeping its options open.
“We’ve got a really strong history with Subiaco Oval,” WAFC CEO Gavin Taylor said.
“It is out natural home and that’s obviously why it’s called the home of football, so an opportunity to stay there is something we’d want to explore.”
A redevelopment of the WACA site comes with a $175 million price tag — something the Government said it was unlikely to provide.
“The Government doesn’t have a lot of money to hand out, we’ve been left a shocking set of finances and we can’t throw money around,” the Premier Mark McGowan said.
City Beach site could bring $100m windfall
The Subiaco school plans have also left the Government holding 96,000 square metres of prime real estate in one of the city’s premiere suburbs.
The old City Beach High School site could now be sold for a hefty sum. (ABC News: Marcus Alborn)
Labor is yet to announce its plans for the old City Beach High School site — where the previous Barnett government had wanted to build a new school to ease student overcrowding in the western suburbs.
The land is currently zoned for public use, not residential, but local real estate agents say it would be conservatively worth about $100 million if re-classified.
“There’s real appetite for vacant land in City Beach because of recent capital expenditure on the beachfront, with the new surf club and restaurant development there,” Tony Young from Optimus Real Estate said.
“There would be absolutely no problem selling land in that vicinity of City Beach.”