A 500-pen marina dubbed the "Hillarys of Rockingham" is being hailed as a catalyst for ambitious plans that could include a revamped foreshore and ocean pool, CAT bus-style public transport and a major hotel.
Rockingham's Railway Terrace road reserve could also be turned into an alfresco dining precinct in the vein of Corso in Manly beach or Acland Street in St Kilda.
At a time when the City of Rockingham's population is predicted to grow by 50,000 in 15 years and almost three times that if a planned Keralup development goes ahead, the council has outlined the scope of its ambitions in a draft economic strategy for the next three years.
The paper's recommendations include a foreshore master plan and developing a business case for a new hotel in the Waterfront Village precinct to tap into business tourism around HMAS Stirling base.
It also proposed working with Murdoch University and the Department of Defence to consider offering graduate programs in global strategic studies and counterterrorism at the university's Rockingham campus.
Rockingham mayor Barry Sammels said the planned Mangles Bay marina could boost tourism and bring in jobs. WA Environment Minister Albert Jacob signed off on the marina this week but it still needs Federal environmental approval.
"We've gone through a redevelopment probably 10 or 15 years ago down on the Waterfront Village precinct," Mr Sammels said. "It's time to take that to the next level. I think this could just be the catalyst to promote this as a tourist destination by having that marina there."
Mr Sammels said historically the city had been caught out by the speed in which areas such as Baldivis had grown and it did not want that to happen again.
Near-term plans for the next 12 months could include extending the Secret Harbour Surf Life Saving Club, a new sporting centre in Baldivis and a beefed-up CCTV system.
"It's a matter of having to keep up with the growth rate down here and ensure that community expectations are met," he said.
South Metropolitan MLC Phil Edman said the marina was intended to create a tourism and recreation hub for Rockingham, including restaurants, cafes and short-term accommodation.
"It is about providing a valuable economic stimulus and a diverse range of employment opportunities for the people of Rockingham," he said. "This is a fabulous opportunity to open the area for the community to enjoy."