Challenges and opportunities as Busselton grows

Ambergate North has been pegged for growth over the next 40 years with the population expected to swell to 13,000 people, three schools and a shopping precinct.

Image by Shutterstock.

Image by Shutterstock.

​City of Busselton director of planning and development services Paul Needham discussed the future of the region at the Port Geographe Landowner’s Assocation annual general meeting on Monday evening.

Around 50 Port Geographe residents attended the meeting along with the city’s mayor Grant Henley and councillor Kelly Hick.

Mr Needham said at the meeting, the population of the Busselton region was currently around 40,000 people and was expected to hit 50,000 by 2026 and 65,000 by 2036.

He said each year approximately 1200 new residents moved to the region, creating 500 new houses, mostly in new estates, and 500 jobs.

“Busselton and Dunsborough is the 36th largest city in Australia and the fastest growing region in the top 60, which brings challenges and opportunities,” he said.

Mr Needham said while the Dunsborough area was running out of available land to develop there was plenty of land in Busselton and Vasse.

With a 30 year development life, Ambergate North would eventually be developed into a future housing estate with Provence and Vasse being the other areas with lots of land supply.

As the Busselton Margaret River Airport development also moves ahead, Airport North would eventually have the largest light industrial area, within its precinct, in the Capes region.

Mr Needham said at the moment the Vasse light industrial area was the only commercial development area in regional WA that had been built without state government investment.

“The Vasse LIA has been really successful and it was all done through private investment,” he said.

Since the global financial crisis, Mr Needham said hotel developments had not happened in WA, other than a few in Perth.

Mr Needham said the city was having discussions to get sites at Port Geographe developed, which had been earmarked for hotels, in an effort to get activity and life into the precinct.

He said the city was looking at rezoning some areas within Port Geographe to allow a mix of short stay accommodation and residential dwellings.

It was also noted that some lots which had been zoned for businesses at Port Geographe would not be commercially viable due to low population numbers in that area and other businesses nearby.

It is expected the lots will be rezoned as residential dwellings to get activity happening in the area.