Sandra Brewer at Cottesloe Beach

Think of spectacular beachside locales in Australia: Manly, Byron Bay and our very own Bunker Bay. What do they have in common? Not portaloos – that’s for certain.

Cottesloe Beach, which deserves to be listed alongside the above, has been without public toilets for a fortnight after a dispute between Indiana restaurant and the Town of Cottesloe. Consequently, unsightly orange portable toilets line the foreshore of one of Perth’s best beaches.

Whilst the different levels of Government bicker over whom is to blame, the fact remains that Cottesloe foreshore is in poor condition, with decades-old buildings and basic retail outlets offering an underwhelming street front in what could be a go-to beachside destination in Western Australia.

What Cottesloe needs is a regeneration, a revitalisation that can only be delivered by the private sector. What Noosa and Byron Bay have in common is that they welcomed development of their beachfronts, accepting limited high rise and attracting high quality developments. Importantly, they retained their charm and the ‘vibe’ that made them so popular in the first place.

The State Government is currently pursuing an overhaul of Western Australia’s outdated planning system. A Green Paper has been published and comments from industry and community invited to inform a final White Paper. The Property Council prepared a comprehensive submission and while there are aspects we believe need looking into in more detail, we commend Minister Saffioti and the McGowan Labor Government for the work they’re doing to streamline and simplify planning in WA. We particularly support efforts to create consistent and contemporary strategic planning and development assessment by Local Government, as this is a real priority for industry.

Improving the way Local Government does planning and responds to industry innovation is desperately needed to transform places like Cottesloe Beach into desirable destinations deserving of their iconic status. The potential for Perth and WA will never be realised while international and interstate visitors arrive to find that the facilities and development in key locations seriously undermines the amazing natural assets on offer.