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The Cockburn Power Station – What Should We Do With It?

The big question for years has been – What Should We Do With the Crumbling, Iconic Old South Fremantle Power Station?

This time we have a new round of ideas.

The City of Cockburn wants to start up the conversation about rejuvenating the building and surrounding areas, right on the Perth coast.

The old South Fremantle Power Station (Instagram)

Ideas that have been throw around recently, include creating a nearby outdoor cinema, cultural and art displays, lighting set ups, extreme sports events, private cocktail, wedding or dinner function spaces and hotels.

Plans were first announced in 2014 to fix the crumbling site, which is considered highly dangerous and unstable. In 2016 a 24-year-old fell to his death after a floor gave way there. The site is now a no-go zone.

South Fremantle Power Station concept in 2014

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The original 2014 Landgate plans could see up to 12,000 people in 6000 homes over 15 to 20 years in the precinct.

View from the old South Fremantle Power Station looking over the Indian Ocean.

Landcorp’s 2014 redevelopment master plan for the iconic building includes total reconstruction and restoration of the old South Fremantle Power Station.

Their plans call for up to 900 homes and economic development, including galleries, restaurants, bars, shops and office space.

The old Freo power station is considered extremely fragile and dangerous.

Video of Landcorp showcase of the old South Fremantle Power Station Site

But the City says full realisation of coastal development in North Coogee between South Beach and Port Coogee will never be realised “while the building remains a blight on the landscape.”

“It’s time to realise the full potential of the Cockburn Coast for families, those with a business, ‘not for profit’ flair for innovation and creating the jobs of the future,” the Mayor said.

South Fremantle Power Station in Cockburn is falling apart.

“The opportunities are endless and will tidy up that section of the Cockburn Coast that is currently transitioning from its industrial history to become, over time, a vibrant and sought after location.”

The City supports investigating adaptation of the building for use as public space that sensitively and authentically embraces its 34 years as a power station and the past 32 years as an abandoned ruin.

A City planning report advocates for minimal intervention to the place including stabilisation of the structure and maintaining key sections without the burden of cost that full restoration would demand.

The building’s significant fabric would be conserved while the degraded roof structure would be removed, creating flexible spaces to accommodate permanent and non-permanent structures for commercial use such as cafes and shops.

South Fremantle Power Station in 2017

Restoration work would include lighting to showcase the building’s cathedral-like spaces, austere interior, raw materials and design, and highlight the urban art for which it has become famous.

The redevelopment would recognise the distinctive landmark’s industrial heritage, tracing its lifecycle from a power station to its abandonment and decay.

The old power station from a drone camera, via Instagram JaradMcInnes

Green and hard landscaping would add recreational amenity and reflect the site’s reclamation by nature and the community.

Some future uses could include playgrounds, outdoor cinema, art displays, BMX events, functions and performances.

The City will also ask Synergy’s permission to access the building to compile a photographic record of urban art at the building as previous requests for Synergy to do so, have gone unanswered.

What do you think they should do with the crumbling site?

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