The Barrack Street Jetty Debacle – notes from a Dept of Planning Traders Meeting, 21st February 2012

Department of Planning Presentation to Barrack Square Traders

Tuesday 21st February 2012, Crystal Swan, Barrack Square, 4.45pm – 7.00pm

Please note: I was not an invited guest, I just turned up, when asked, in turn with everyone there, to identify myself, I stated that I was Greg Ross from the City Gatekeepers.

The first meeting was an assembly of the Local Chambers Barrack Square Traders Association. The meeting was convened to discuss the ramifications for the various businesses when construction commences on the waterfront project. These various points were brought up by the members, there’s no attempt by me to edit, or verify their veracity (of each statement):

  • Stand to loose 40,000 cars per day
  • Loss of income
  • Want free rent during construction process – some were granted this during the Bell Tower construction, as compensation for loss of income.
  • Cpt Cook tours in favour of the development – they made money during construction of the BT
  • Golden Sun Tours will loose money if Perth Zoo ferries moved.
  • Real concerns about reduced traffic flow, BT doesn’t have to worry, it’s subsidised by the government.
  • Government is to create a Barrack St jetty website to try and get business to the area, while construction is underway and everything fenced off.
  • Worry about promoting and creating on-going activity around a busy large construction site.
  • C of P looking at marketing the area with a new campaign in late March, naming it the Barrack Square precinct.
  • Concern at the lack of information form the MRA
  • Financial implications are very worrying
  • Question to C of P – is the marketing campaign definitely starting next month, response, couldn’t say, being delayed.
  • Complaints that nobody from government, or C of P has ever talked to them about the closure and loss of Jetty 6
  • Communication is appalling
  • MRA already walking over everybody, with enormous power, some doubts they can rule the Swan River Trust.
  • Do they know how to build jetties suitable for commercial operations?
  • The possibility of the project has been discussed for the last 6 – 9 months and has gone nowhere.
  • Nobody can afford to get / pursue legal options, either financially, or business-wise (repercussions).
  • Limited resources and power to effect changes, government will do what it wants.
  • Rhetoric from government is waffle, every business knows they’re going to get hurt.
  • Concern over time taken for excavation (nobody’s told them) and then construction – rumours of 10 – 15 years and if Perth Arena is an example, whatever time is given will blow out.

MRA Address

Glenn Finn spoke first, introducing his team.

  • Advised they’re doing a redesign of Barrack St jetty, trying to accommodate the requisite finger jetty.
  • Status report: Talk last year, currently progressing with environmental and Aboriginal issues.
  • Expect to commence work in April this year

Trent Hunt (Marine Consultant)

  • Going for finger jetties off Jetty 1
  • Demolishing Jetty 6
  • Expanding Jetty 5 by 25 metres
  • Dredging required around finger jetties, approx 8,000 cubic metres, will need to be monitored
  • Jetty Programme, site works start June 2012
  • Expect a seven month construction period, complete January 2013
  • After that, dredging will begin, before boats can access
  • The major impact will be on jetties 1 & 5
  • Jetty 6 boats to be moved in Oct / Nov
  • Concern from floor that everything must be ready six weeks before Xmas, or financial disaster for operators.
  • Question from floor as to where private charter boats were going to moor.
  • Hunt couldn’t answer, said they hadn’t thought about that and he didn’t know.
  • Question from floor as to who would police the issue, Hunt told them they would have to police it themselves.
  • To questions about storage facilities he said he didn’t know, they hadn’t thought of that.
  • He said that the trees besides the jetties were about to be removed to create a load-out storage compound for contractors

Ian McKee (I think, may have been Ian Johnston)

  • External road works – tenders soon to be awarded
  • Work expected to start May 2012
  • Rolling traffic diversions fro 18 months as of May 2012
  • Expect heavy congestion during peak hours
  • Going to make Mounts Bay Road 2 way lead into Riverside Drive to tyr and help.
  • Riverside Drive expected to be closed late 2013

Veronica Jeffrey & Lisa Montgomery (MRA marketing)

Talked of using the USA company, Project for Public Spaces, invited audience to go the the PPS website, explained the various factors going into marketing a space, concentrated on making it family friendly.

  • They said the area wouldn’t have trees and as it would be all hard surfaces, it would need artificial shade, they showed power point slides of outdoor cafes with umbrellas etc.
  • They said that after consideration an extra boardwalk had been added, to bring the river closer to people, to overcome the 4m drop from the main boardwalk.


They gave the timeline for the marketing campaign (marketing Barrack Square precinct:

  • Feb: interviews (passers-by)
  • Feb – Mar: Consultation with business
  • End Mar: draft plan
  • April: Finalise
  • End April: Signage, hoardings, marketing & promotion
  • May: Quick Win start

Quick wins
A term used in the regeneration sector to refer to relatively cheap and easy initiatives that can be quickly implemented in an attempt to secure community support for a regeneration scheme. Quick wins are also designed to head off community frustration at delays to more substantial improvements that often dog major regeneration initiatives.
Found on


  • May budget: Couldn’t give a figure, but assured there was a budget.
  • Concern from floor about Swan River Trust and possibility of two masters, as MRA only started 1st Jan 2012.
  • Concern from floor over Long Table Lunch, was there a budget for it, answer yes, but not sure how much.

Herman De Mello (Leasing)

  • He said he wasn’t aware of some changes previous MRA speakers had spoken of, such as adding to jetties 1 & 5, would need to consult with them
  • He didn’t know where the vessels from 6 etc would be going, but would work it out over the next week or two.
  • Concern from the floor over parking, what was going to happen with bays.
  • Audience was told the official view was that cars would be actively discouraged, they waned people using public transport, walking and bikes.
  • Owners responded that visiting car traffic was a vital component of customer numbers, exactly how many bays were there and how many would be left.
  • Response was that there were somewhere between 65 and 70 short term (2 hour) bays, interjection asking why they didn’t know exactly.
  • Response was they’d done a count but forgotten.
  • 25 short term bays would be left, but there was plenty of parking around the city and the other side of the proposed inlet.
  • Disbelief from floor that people would walk all that way to visit a construction site.
  • Asked when the bays would be reduced, the response was they didn’t know.
  • Question from floor about providing extra Cat bus service, response was the Blue Cat would continue with no extra stop added between Esplanade Station and Barrack St Jetty.
  • Questioned about time taken on rerouted circuit, response was two – three minutes.
  • Concern from floor that train passengers who know walked over Esplanade Reserve to Barrack St jetty, would not do so when the construction was on.
  • Response was that’s why the marketing campaign.
  • Questioned about whether anybody had put their hand up to build / buy a building, Glen Finn responded that they’d been out in the market looking for Expressions of Interest and that there was confirmed interest in the hotel.
  • When asked who the contact person at MRA was for the Barrack Square Traders (as they didn’t’ want to have to deal with different people), Glen Finn responded that they hadn’t thought about it, but he’d be happy to be the contact person.
  • Glen Finn finished the meeting responding to questions about construction time etc, with the following:
  • End of 2015, finish of infrastructure public works, everything in place, but no buildings.
  • End of 2022, project completed, but go over that time, due to the various developers commercial considerations

My Opinion

It would be easy to pick on MRA staff for the obvious lack of preparedness, but that would be wrong. It struck me they were competent people, who have suddenly had this project thrown at them and been told to make it work. However, if they have been working on it for two years, albeit in different departments, the lack of preparation and answers would have to be viewed as appalling.

The new emphasis on families was interesting, the project is  obviously not family friendly and for the first time, we saw they’ve adopted the Gatekeepers’ floating swimming pool concept.

Although the assurances to business operators were based around marketing and promoting the precinct, nobody was able to provide an actual budget figure, or a finished campaign, three to four weeks away from the initial constructions stage.

The reality appears that these traders will be cut off by building works – fenced construction sites – with constant truck and construction movement and two thirds less parking for customers, they’ll need more than a marketing campaign.

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