The Barnett Government will flex its planning muscle to take over 100ha of the Scarborough beachfront and hinterland in a move aimed at a radical densification of the underperforming oceanside suburb.
The powerful Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority has been handed planning powers over a swath of Scarborough that stretches 1.5km along the coast and up to 800m inland along Scarborough Beach Road.
The City of Stirling had been working on its own redevelopment but the MRA will take over a much larger swath of land than it had contemplated.
The Government wants towers exceeding 12 storeys at some sites and mid-rise buildings of between three and five storeys along Scarborough Beach Road.
It is a project of unprecedented scale and complexity for the MRA, created in 2011, and represents the first time its broad powers will be used on an established residential area.
The takeover has the support of the council, which will contribute $27 million of ratepayers' money to match a $30 million commitment from the State Government over the next four years to kick off redevelopment works. Colin Barnett said landowners within the redevelopment area could expect property values to rise and he did not expect a significant backlash.
Some in the local community rebelled a decade ago over plans for 8-12 storeys along the beach. "I think people have perhaps had a bit of a rethink," the Premier said. "I'm sure there will be some debate and some issues, but this is not going to be the Gold Coast."
MRA chief Kieran Kinsella said the intention was to get greater "intensity" of development along Scarborough Beach Road to underpin future public transport links between the beach and Glendalough train station.
He acknowledged the MRA had little control over private landholders, saying: "We'll provide the planning tools but it will really be in the hands of developers."Shadow planning minister Rita Saffioti said Scarborough was a key tourism precinct that needed strategic investment but there needed to be genuine consultation with the community to avoid the precinct becoming a developers' picnic.