A cable car to Kings Park and a major centre for indigenous art and culture are the key features of Premier Colin Barnett's vision for the city waterfront.
The proposal, released yesterday, is for an integrated river port with a hotel and hospitality and office district between Barrack and William streets with a rectangular inlet carved out of the foreshore.
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It is a more modest proposal than that unveiled by Alan Carpenter just before the last State election with low-rise hotels and apartment blocks of up to seven storeys close to the river graduating to buildings of more than 30 storeys towards the city.
Riverside Drive would be realigned to go around the development down the Esplanade, which becomes a two-way road.
Mr Barnett said the Government would spend about $250 million on cutting the inlet, dredging, roadworks and landscaping from the start of 2012, after the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, scheduled for Perth in the second half of 2011.
A ferry port would be built inside the rectangular inlet, bringing river transport closer to the city. The cable car would connect the indigenous culture centre with Kings Park.
The Government proposes to develop the waterfront in conjunction with the ambitious Northbridge Link plan, which will see the city also grow north over the railway.
The plan drew widespread support yesterday, although shadow planning minister Mark McGowan said Mr Barnett's plan was unfunded, lacking in detail, "gimmicky" and would funnel traffic from Riverside Drive into the city centre.
"Mr Barnett is really good at the thought bubbles but he doesn't have the detailed planning, money and work which are necessary to make it happen," Mr McGowan said.
Urban Development Institute boss Debra Goostrey said the industry was excited by the opportunities but conceded that development of the foreshore would be gradual and determined by the world's recovery from the global economic crisis and available finance.
Mr Barnett was more upbeat, declaring the project offered "the best real estate in Australia". The Government hoped to recoup much of the cost of the infrastructure through land sales.
Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi, an enthusiastic supporter of the Carpenter government's proposal, said she was happy with the new plan.
"I liked the previous plan (but) it's not a case of preferring it. It's a case of dealing with reality and the reality is this is now the plan. We have to accept that," Ms Scaffidi said.
The chief executive of the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council, Glen Kelly, supported the idea of a national centre for indigenous art and culture as the centrepiece of the proposed redevelopment.
Mr Barnett said the cultural centre would be a national project and he expected the Federal Government to play its part in funding it.
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