Attributed: Kim Macdonald, “Building king Dale Alcock’s new vision to kickstart Perth”, The West Australian, 3 September 2019
WA’s most influential home builder Dale Alcock has outlined a bold new vision for Perth which involves sinking rail lines across the metropolitan area, increasing eateries on our beaches and calling out the leafy western suburbs to do its bit for density.
Outlining a 30-year plan last night on the premiere of Seven’s new panel show Flashpoint, Mr Alcock said Stirling Highway could become “one of the great boulevards of Australia” if the rail line was lowered.
Mr Alcock, who has a net worth of about $280 million and is also the Fremantle Dockers’ president, conceded that some West Australians “don’t like change”. But he said this was a chance to “stitch the village back together” and ensure the State was making the most of its incredible coastline.
Mr Alcock praised the McGowan Government’s Metronet project but said it had isolated planning for higher-density urban centres along the new route, ignoring existing transport corridors.
He called for the sinking of railway corridors across the metropolitan area, highlighting Fremantle, Armadale, Midland, Cottesloe, Shenton Park, Subiaco and West Leederville as key areas.
He said the sale of the land would pay for the cost of sinking the rail and engineering advances would allow development on every bit of the land.
Stirling Highway — which he said was “currently unattractive” — could be remodelled into a high-density, tree-lined boulevard with shops and residential apartments. The change could involve widening the highway too.
“It could be celebrated as a tree-lined boulevard that connects the centre of Perth with the ocean or Fremantle — the two cities — and become one of the great boulevards of Australia,” he said.
He said there was clearly resistance to density in the western suburbs, but the areas needed “some density and some height” so that the communities could plan for their ageing residents, who wanted to downsize in their neighbourhood.
At the same time, the big expensive properties were locking out younger people, preventing generational change.
The City Beach (sic) resident said he understood some communities did not want apartment blocks on certain residential streets, but said the trade-off was to allow it on major roads.
“Some people don’t want urban expansion on the fringe but they don’t want (density) in their suburbs either,” he said. “You can’t say, we’re closed for business, we’re full up.”
His vision extended to allowing seasonal beach bars, where people could watch the sunset while drinking a wine or beer with their feet in the sand.
“We have got to look at what we value highly in Perth, and enhance that, while considering what we need to do better,” he said. He has produced video of his ideas that can be watched online at thewest.com.au