Pilbara Cities vision a step closer to reality

The initiative is expected to free up 75 hectares of land in east Port Hedland as part of the state government’s Pilbara Cities vision, which is set to modernise several towns in the region.Grylls said the relocation project was particularly significant because the development potential in this area of Port Hedland had been constrained by the treatment plant’s location.“It is clearly directed at addressing future housing affordability and availability and will go a long way to assisting in projected growth for the town and region,” he said. “A recent assessment confirmed that housing demand significantly exceeds supply and there was a need to increase supply both in the near future and in the longer term. “There is no doubt that the relocation of the Port Hedland Wastewater Treatment Plant will, within a relatively short timeframe, open up a major new housing estate. “This project should have a lasting impact on the cost of housing in the area and the new development is consistent with the state government’s Pilbara Cities framework.”House prices in the Pilbara have skyrocketed over the past decade because of a substantial increase in mining activity. Water Minister Bill Marmion said various options had been considered for the relocation of the plant, with the final decision being that the facility would be combined with the South Hedland Wastewater Treatment Plant, which would undergo a substantial upgrade. “The estimated cost of combining the two plants would be $106 million and the Water Corporation committed to transferring flows from the Port Hedland site to the South Hedland facility by June 2014,” Marmion said. “The Port Hedland land will not be available until after the completion of rehabilitation work, but providing potential developers with this mid-2014 timeframe means development applications within the plant’s buffer zone can be approved in the near future, easing a major constraint to developers.” The South Hedland facility upgrades will cater for growth in the area through to the mid-2030s. Grylls said the government would now undertake planning and due diligence works to establish how best the east Port Hedland site could be utilised. “We are committed to ensuring the site is developed in a way that not only improves housing supply, but works to improve and contribute to the Port Hedland community,” he said. A full business case for the development of the land is expected to be available in the next few months.

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