Animal magnetism draws visitors and economic activity to South Perth /
15 Dec 2020
[Images: City of South Perth]
It’s hard to miss the striking 9-tonne frilled-neck lizard and 5-tonne numbat canopies, both measuring over 20 metres long, that form the ‘animal’ parade’ standing larger than life to welcome visitors to the Mends Street Jetty foreshore in South Perth. If you look carefully, you may also spot some kangaroo, emu and meerkat sculptures too!
Acting as a visual link connecting Perth’s CBD through to Perth Zoo, these installations are part of the City of South Perth’s $7.924 million ‘Connect South Mends Street’ project, the WA Chapter Project of the Year winner in the 2020 PMAAs.
Designed to transform the Mends Street precinct into the urban heart of South Perth, it offers an experiential destination for local, regional and international visitors. Completed in late 2019, the high-profile public realm project has fast become a much-loved and iconic attraction in Western Australia, whilst contributing to the significant revitalisation of the South Perth foreshore.
Through this project, a new focal point for the area has been created and named ‘Mindeerup’, which is a traditional Noongar name meaning ‘place of the shore’ and acknowledges the significance of this area to local Indigenous culture and heritage.
With Mindeerup’s natural breathtaking views of the city and Swan River, the addition of new seating options, shade structures, artistic elements and feature lighting (including nocturnal artwork sharing Indigenous stories of the place), and considered landscaping has created a vibrant and inviting space for people to enjoy beyond its previous life predominantly frequented as a ferry transfer point.
Bringing the vision to life
The City of South Perth appointed NS Group and other project partners to help plan, design and deliver the Connect South project with the vision of enhancing public amenity, improving access to transport and unlocking greater economic opportunity.
NS Group’s advisory and project teams were responsible for providing project management and superintendency services to manage the master planning, consultation, design and delivery stages of the project. With bold ambitions for the $7.924 million project (including $2.5 million from the National Stronger Regions Fund, Round 2), there were many funding requirements and publicly visible deliverables to be completed to a high quality for maximum community impact and benefit.
Key project complexities and unique features included:
- diverse considerations and consultation with over 20 stakeholder groups;
- development control area status due to proximity to the river;
- involvement of three-tiered government funding and approvals; and
- indigenous, historic, cultural and artistic elements.
Working hand-in-hand with the City of South Perth, NS Group led the project and worked closely with all stakeholder groups including council staff, government authorities, residents, businesses and the local community to ensure the project was a success.
“We are incredibly pleased with how the project was delivered and the tangible outcomes achieved for all City of South Perth stakeholders. In fact, I love this place so much that I take my family down there all the time to enjoy an ice cream, soak up the atmosphere and see how visitors are interacting with the space and various artworks.Mark Taylor, Director Infrastructure Services, City of South Perth
Delivering on the promise
The Connect South project has injected new life into the area for residents, businesses and visitors alike to become a cultural, leisure and economic success story. Amongst various outcomes envisioned for the Connect South project, key accomplishments included:
- $580,000 budget surplus was achieved (more than 7% of the total project value) which enabled the delivery of additional scope items to enhance project benefits.
- Practical completion was achieved 6 weeks ahead of key funding milestones.
- All funding milestones for the National Stronger Regions Fund were achieved.
- A robust stakeholder engagement and communications programme to garner support and bring stakeholders along on the journey was successfully implemented.
- A lessons learned workshop with the City of South Perth, facilitated by NS Group, concluded that the project had exceeded its planned outcomes and captured key lessons for integration in future projects.
The project’s success has been widely recognised by industry through multiple state, national and international awards for its public realm design, placemaking and place activation excellence.
“The stunning animal canopies proudly showcase our unique Australian fauna and flora, whilst reinforcing Perth Zoo’s commitment to conservation and connecting people to nature. The installations and animal artwork within the precinct has created a greater connection to the Zoo and a sense of wonderment and joy for the public.Katja Geschke, Manager Strategic Projects, Perth Zoo
Realising community and economic benefits
The Connect South project is a significant rejuvenation of the Mends Street precinct and the South Perth foreshore surrounds that has brought new exposure and opportunities to the area. The planning and delivery of community and economic benefits through this project were maximised through extensive stakeholder consultation and communications.
Major benefits and outcomes achieved for the City of South Perth’s residents, businesses and the wider community were:
- Creating a river room and vibrant local street that has become the civic heart of the community.
- Establishing a striking gateway to South Perth, whilst connecting the Perth CBD, Swan River and Perth Zoo.
- Enhancing place, cultural and historic connection through local Indigenous storytelling and place activation.
- Developing a local, regional and international drawcard destination as an investment attractor.
- Media interest and coverage of the project has elevated visibility of the area.
The project has sparked prosperity to create economic stimulus through more choice and a great experience. Ratepayers and retailers have advised that trade has significantly improved, with several businesses having upgraded their own facilities to match the improvements introduced through the project.
With the Connect South project as the first stage realised from the South Perth Foreshore Strategy and Management Plan, it sets a benchmark of community engagement and successful outcomes for future stages.
“Despite the impact during construction works which was challenging at times, we are delighted with the final outcomes that have made it all worthwhile. The improved amenity and additional numbers of visitors being attracted to the area were a catalyst for our business to expand our alfresco dining offering to cater for more patrons.Tanya Brown, Director, Rambla & Hardie Finance Corporation
Awards and recognition
- 2020 AIPM Project Management Achievement Awards – WA Project of the Year
- 2020 AIPM Project Management Achievement Awards – WA Government Project winner
- 2020 Architecture MasterPrize International Awards – Installations & Structures
- 2020 AILA National & WA Landscape Architecture Awards – Tourism
- 2020 AILA WA Landscape Architecture Awards – Civic Landscape
- 2020 AIA WA Architecture Awards – Iwan Iwanoff Award
- 2020 AIA WA Architecture Awards – Lighting (Commendation)
- 2020 IAP2 National Core Values Awards – Infrastructure (Planning & Design Phase) (Highly Commended)
- 2020 World Landscape Architecture Awards – Built Large (Finalist)
- 2020 Parks & Leisure Australia WA Awards of Excellence – Park of the Year (Finalist)
- 2019 Australian Street Art Awards – Best External Mural (Finalist)
Author: Tracy Mackay is a Project Director at NS Group and an AIPM WA Chapter Councillor. She is a Certified Practising Project Director (CPPD) with more than 25 years’ experience in project management. Her passion lies in public realm and place activation projects.