1288-bed Karratha workers village gets green light

Alicia PereraPilbara News
An artist’s impression of the workers accommodation facility planned as part of an expansion of Best Western Plus The Ranges Karratha.
Camera IconAn artist’s impression of the workers accommodation facility planned as part of an expansion of Best Western Plus The Ranges Karratha. Credit: Kimberley Pilbara Gascoyne JDAP

A 1288-bed workers’ accommodation village proposed as an extension of Karratha hotel Best Western Plus The Ranges has been given the green light to proceed, subject to securing a tenant.

The proposed building, which would be 1.5km from the Karratha CBD on De Witt Road, was granted planning approval by the Kimberley Pilbara Gascoyne Joint Development Assessment Panel at a meeting earlier this month.

Approval for transient workforce accommodation use was granted for 10 years on the condition of proponent Greenvalley Asset showing evidence of one or more construction projects the development is required for.

Other conditions include that the building must only be occupied by employees and direct contractors for those projects, and be limited to a maximum of 1288 rooms.

Greenvalley Asset managing director Angus Murray said receiving development approval was an important step towards the project securing a tenant and the company had already met with a number of resources companies planning construction projects in Karratha.

He said the facility represented a new model of workers’ accommodation for the town.

“We’re building permanent buildings on freehold land — it’s not donga-style accommodation — and we’ve got designs in place which will allow the whole facility to transition over time to residential uses such as retirement living, tourist accommodation or student accommodation ... which have not really been viable in Karratha before,” he said.

“For a facility to be built for a period of time as workforce accommodation and then transitioned to other uses is an exciting option for the City that they haven’t had in the past.”

The decision comes after City of Karratha councillors in August advised the JDAP they supported the facility in-principle, subject to the proponent signing on a tenant.

A City spokesman said the approval was in line with councillors’ decision to support the development on the basis that “it has been designed to a much higher standard than is usually proposed for workforce accommodation and has the potential to be used for alternative purposes in the future, delivering better outcomes for the community”.

He said the City was working hard to promote residential operational workforces and was committed to ensuring any TWA projects delivered the maximum possible benefits to the community.

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