City slams health campus design

The City of Karratha is calling on the WA Country Health Service to revise the proposed design of the Pilbara Health Campus to achieve better planning outcomes for the Karratha City Centre.

While the City supports the CBD location of the campus, concerns have been raised about the connectivity of the building both physically and visually with the City centre.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long called on the Minister for Health, Kim Hames and Minister for Regional Development Terry Redman to intervene in the design process to ensure that an appropriate solution could be found.

“This is a once in a generation project and gives us the opportunity to enhance the work we have already done in our City centre, however the current design, with a moat of car parking separating the buildings from the CBD, doesn’t achieve this objective,” Cr Long said.

“We have a huge amount of car parking on every side of the building as well as battered edges on the site which create a physical separation and a visual eye-sore in a prominent CBD location,” he said. 

“The City understands the need to balance clinical requirements with design features and aesthetics however we don’t believe the current design achieves this. In really well designed hospitals things like car parking and helipads are located in such a way that the buildings can still be activated and integrated into streetscapes.”

The key issues which the city would like to see addressed include:

  • the layout of the site which places a moat of parking around the buildings is not supported as it will detract from the City centre
  • pedestrian links and visual connectivity to Balmoral and Warambie Roads must be included
  • the location of the helipad requires excess fill, creating further visual impacts and should be relocated
  • the battered edges on the site will create significant visual impacts that will need to be addressed through landscaping

The City has provided formal and informal feedback to WACHS throughout the design process, however limited changes have been made.

“We don’t believe there has been meaningful consultation on the design of the campus. We have indicated that we don’t support the current layout and we hope there can be a compromise to accommodate some of our suggestions.

“We are really looking forward to this facility being built and delivering better health services to our community but if the State Government is going to spend over $200 million on this project we want to make sure we get it right and create a lasting legacy for our city,” he said.