Revitalisation changing the face of Collie
Collie is poised to enter a new era, with a number of projects
either underway or recently completed breathing new life into the
South West town.
Developments such as the newly-opened art gallery and new-look central business district area are helping to create a vibrant, thriving community that people want to be part of.
The initiatives - part of the Royalties for Regions-funded SuperTowns program − are set to help shake off Collie's reputation as just a coal mining town where many people might work, but not necessarily choose to live.
"We want people to say 'why would I want to live anywhere else'," says Shire President Wayne Sanford.
"If we're going to be people's first choice of residency, we have to have the amenity and improve our product."
Increasing the appeal of the town are projects like the upgraded Soldiers Park which now incorporates a skate park, and the installation of underground power in the town centre.
The new Collie skate park attracted a number of young residents at its launch.
Under construction is a new child care centre which is on track to be finished in December, and the redevelopment of the swimming pool complex which is slated for a September opening.
Planning for stage one of the central park project is underway, with works expected to begin in June for an end-of-year completion.
SWDC regional development coordinator Alan Cross on the reopened railway footbridge, which connects the north and south of town.
The activity has not gone unnoticed by South West Development Commission regional development coordinator Alan Cross, who coordinates the State Government agency's work in Bunbury-Wellington.
"The town seems to be buzzing, with lots of construction work going ahead, new buildings, businesses and facilities," he said.
An artist's impression of the Collie Early Learning Centre, and construction of the building on Throssell Street.
Shire President Sanford said locals were taking notice of the works being carried out and believed visitors would also see the greater sense of community they were trying to achieve.
"People are excited that the amenity is being improved in town and can see the work being done," he said.
"By the end of the year, I think the town will be transformed."
An artist's impression of the planned Central Park, which will include a water playground.
Shire of Collie SuperTowns project manager Geoff Klem said he expected the projects to revitalise the town and enhance its attractiveness as a place to live, invest and visit.
"At a time when there is some uncertainty in the coal industry, the development program is a significant boost to improving the profile of the town," he said.
Shire of Collie SuperTowns project manager Geoff Klem during construction of the Collie Art Gallery, and the finished building as seen today.
South West Development Commission chief executive officer Don Punch said he was pleased the town was benefiting from State Government funding including the Royalties for Regions-funded SuperTowns program.
"The SuperTowns program is about building on the strengths of each town to make them even more desirable places to live," Mr Punch said.
"The Collie Shire and community are to be commended for the vision they developed for the town and are now turning into a reality.
"For example, people who work in the town will find it easier to live there through initiatives such as the child care centre whilst the new skate park adds appeal to younger people.
"The overall improved amenity is also a big attractor for new investment. Vibrant towns are a deciding factor in people making investment choices in regional WA.
"In the future, we can expect to be focusing on new opportunities for economic development."
Shire of Collie President Wayne Sanford in Collie's Forrest Street.
Did you know?
Collie's population has grown by 7.2 per cent or 656 people since 2009.