Work is under way to turn Bunbury businessman Colin Piacentini’s CBD revitalisation plan into reality.
The Mail exclusively revealed Mr Piacentini’s bold vision for Bunbury earlier this month which included plans to build a cruise ship terminal in the outer harbour and to bring a train station alongside the site of the Koombana North development.
Mr Piacentini hired world-class engineering firm AECOM at his own expense to prepare a fully-costed proposal which he said would cost “significantly less” than stage one of the Transforming Bunbury’s Waterfront project.
AECOM associate director Julian Croudace met with the City of Bunbury and interested community stakeholders on Friday to discuss logistics.
“This plan aims to connect projects with a focus on bringing people into the Bunbury CBD,” Mr Croudace said.
Mr Croudace said the plan focuses on four key points – the cruise ship berth, a series of interconnected transport frameworks, a welcoming health and aged care precinct and a youth and education precinct in the CBD.
“People want to be in the action of a happening CBD and this plan would help Bunbury grow towards a better future,” he said.
“Now we require energy from local champions to make Bunbury a vibrant city in the future.
“Each of these plans would take work but they are all entirely possible with public and private investment.”
Deputy Mayor Brendan Kelly said the City welcomes Mr Piacentini’s initiative which he believes could help Bunbury fulfill the potential we all know it has.
“These plans would be a real step towards the future with Bunbury maturing as a city,” he said.
“This is not just about developing one place but growing WA and the South West while finding Bunbury’s part in it all.”
Part of the plan also focuses on creating a denser urban population with a proposed 18 storey residential building near the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre.
Mr Kelly said the City of Bunbury’s proposed Town Planning Scheme 8 would allow for more high rise building opportunities and any development would have to be negotiated appropriately.
Mr Croudace said the public could be prepared to trade off issues such as height in return for the quality facilities any high rise buildings could offer.
“It’s bold and controversial but that’s what Bunbury needs.”
Mr Croudace said investors who can recognise opportunity and are keen to be involved with Mr Piacentini’s ideas should speak up now and join in the momentum.
“We have started conversations with interested domestic and overseas partners and are committed to getting this project going,” he said.