So I was at Electrikhana 2016 on the weekend and heard the word a deal for $3 million in Tesla’s Model S electric vehicle (EV) was going through. That’s 20 cars of the future at $150k each, to power a new limousine service.
But the real news was this year’s Australian Electric Vehicle Assoc’s car show was packed, from young families to a surprising number of oldies, lining up to test-drive and see what’s on offer.
The super bikes and top-of-the-range cars were there, but so were EVs that cost 50k five years ago and now on-sell for one-third the price (remaining battery life ~ three years). The RAC showed off its newly installed electric highway and fast-charge stations, and the guy who sold the City of Canning its solar panels arrived with the wife and kids in – you guessed it – the family EV.
It led me to wondering what the City of Canning is doing to position itself for the brave new world of transportation possibilities and realities? Is The New Energy of the South East, as we’ve branded ourselves, going to get it right?
We were supposed to be rejuvenating the largest infill site this close to the CBD – the $700m Bentley Regeneration – but where once we were to have EV charge points as standard, a car-share scheme amongst 1700 new homes, buses running through the lot, the project seems to have broader issues now that may reduce its potential.
Then there’s the problem with our new CBD plan. As part of a strategy arrived at by staff in the absence of a Council, an overall very limited area is to be transformed in to 10s of 1000s of new homes, business opportunities and activated spaces, at the same time as Carousel – which dominates everything – has received permission to increase its net leasable area by 50%, and that includes a huge no. of new car bays.
OK, so the new Carousel will also feature EV charge stations, and provision for hundreds of bikes with end user facilities…. but we don’t have the actual bike paths, or well shaded streets, to encourage car offsets and what good is provision for potentially cleaner cars if, as at 2008, Carousel alone generated 30,000 car trips a day, or 800,000 a month* and now another 15,000 is coming online just to service the one entity? This boil of cars doesn’t include the vehicles the new pack’n’stack residents will bring, and they will bring them.
In the background the plan is to position Canning to get the light rail to Curtin – yep, the one Town of Victoria Park is still hoping for themselves – but as Vic Park and Canning have been hit with the second and third highest housing infill requirements in Perth, our planners need to be sure about the road, rail and bike path ahead.
For now, in my view, the new Canning Council isn’t even positioning itself to seize the day on what both the Barnett Govt and the potential McGowan Govt believe should occur next in top of the range public transport services for Perth – building a heavy rail link through our suburbs to join up the Armadale and Mandurah train lines. Consider it flushing New Energy through the South East, if you will.
Will Canning get the brave new world right?
*Carousel’s car commute figures previewed by Corey Verwey at City of Canning workshop in 2011