The City of Greater Geraldton tried an innovative approach to suburban development by inviting residents of Sunset Beach to a development planning workshop in April. The workshop proved a successful way to engage residents in telling the Council what they would like to see in their suburb. Some of their ideas are included here.
Better beach access a top priority for Sunset Beach residents
Sunset Beach resident Heike Witt says establishing a wide coastal recreation area with a revegetated green corridor that is safe and easy to access by everyone needs to be included in future planning for the area.
Speaking after the Sunset Beach Community Planning Workshop in April, Ms Witt - who has lived in the locality for four years - says this is a top priority.
“The Sunset Beach community has great beaches that really need to be protected from erosion and the dune system should be kept rather than cleared for future residential development,” she says.
“Future development should include a road separating residential housing from a coastal green belt recreation area, this would not only protect the dunes and give wildlife a place to live, it would give the City more space to accommodate coastal erosion,” says Ms Witt.
Ms Witt says she enjoyed the workshop and the opportunity to be involved in planning the area in which she lives.
Shops, cafés and higher density living to revitalise suburb
Reducing the width of Chapman Road by building shops and cafés along the west side to create more vibrancy in the suburb is an option Sunset Beach property owner Kevin Cassidy would like to see in the future development of the area.
“Chapman Road north of the Bosley Street roundabout is 50m wide and has all these different coloured fences backing onto it,” he says.
“The City will never be able to make this look attractive so they should reduce the verge and see that it is developed for retail, small cafés and rezone this land for higher density living closer to the shops which would greatly increase the vibrancy of the area.”
A shared coastal footpath for all
Less cars, more people places, and coastal paths, is how Sunset Beach resident Gail Dawson would like to see the future development of her neighbourhood.
“We need to start thinking about less cars and not taking up valuable land for cars to drive and to park. By removing cars and creating inviting outdoor spaces we will not only increase people’s willingness to go outside we will be providing them with the spaces to exercise and lead healthier lifestyles,” she says.
“Walkways could be lined with trees, have shaded seating areas and feature art installations and interpretive signs about the flora and fauna and tell the stories of Aboriginal sites of significance and culture along the way, so people can be reminded of whose land they are walking on.
“At the workshop I felt there was a genuine desire for Council to hear what people want, so I am looking forward to the second community workshop in June.”
Suburb needs a community meeting place
The public open space on Bosley Street in Sunset Beach could be the future home of a community centre featuring a skate park, shops and childcare facilities according to local residents Kelvin Krippner and Darryl Ding.
“The centre could be rented out which would provide an income to cover the costs of a coordinator who would ensure the centre is being used to its maximum by all the different community groups.
“The building needs to be ‘green’ it should have solar panels and capture rainwater in underground tanks that would be used to water the open and well lit landscaped grounds featuring lots of trees for shade,” he says.
The second community workshop will be held from 5pm on June 10 at the Geraldton Camp school and all interested people are invited to register by contacting Jess Felix at 9956 6963 or email firstname.lastname@example.org