Experts in the Media

Albert Jacob – The West Australian

Mayor, City of Joondalup

Albert Jacob: How Joondalup became the northern heartbeat of Perth.

Cast your mind back to 1998. It’s the year the Adelaide Crows won their second consecutive AFL premiership, mobile phones were bricks, The Wiggles’ television series aired on Channel 7 and Good Will Hunting and The Wedding Singer were playing at the cinema.

It was also the year Joondalup first became a city in its own right, named the City of Joondalup in July of that year.

You might not know the history, but Joondalup’s story began more than four decades earlier in 1955 with the “Plan for the Metropolitan Region — Perth and Fremantle, Western Australia” also known as the Stephenson-Hepburn report.

In the late 1970s the Joondalup Centre Act was proclaimed, and the Joondalup Development Corporation was established.

The JDC’s task was a complex and ambitious one: deliver on the vision set out by Sir Charles Court for a satellite city on the shores of Lake Joondalup that would become the civic, cultural and economic capital of Perth’s northern corridor. Five members were appointed to the JDC in February 1977.

At that time, aside from the then City of Wanneroo Administration building and Wanneroo Hospital, Joondalup was still mostly bush.

The Joondalup we know and love today began to develop in the 1980s and early 90s.

This coincided with the Mitchell Freeway — construction of stage five began in December 1984, stages five and six officially opened in August 1986 — and the Joondalup train line extension in 1992, closing the distance between Perth CBD and the northern suburbs.

Away from the city centre, residential growth grew significantly across the suburbs. People were attracted by the lifestyle opportunities and headed north to build homes and raise families.

Remember the excitement that the America’s Cup bought to Perth? Well Hillarys Boat Harbour was completed prior to that in November 1987, and would soon become one of WA’s most popular tourist attractions, then the ECU Campus (1987), Lakeside Joondalup Shopping City (1994) and Arena Joondalup (1994) developments all took shape; further signs the region had come of age.

Planning and creating a city is no mean feat, and joint commissioners oversaw the city’s first 18 months. Its first council was established in 1999 with John Bombak named the inaugural mayor. Under the banner Creating the Future, the council had its first formal sitting in December 1999.

Fast forward 25 years. What is Joondalup now?

The City of Joondalup is home to more than 165,000 residents, and the city centre is the heartbeat of the northern corridor of Perth with 13,000 businesses delivering more than $6.9 billion in economic activity, fulfilling Sir Charles Court’s ambition. The Joondalup city centre is now the capital of the northern corridor with about 500,000 residents within a 20-minute drive.

Joondalup is recognised on the international stage for its liveability and healthy lifestyle opportunities and for being home to an engaged and connected community. In 2011 Joondalup was named as the most liveable city (with a population of 150,000-400,000) at the United Nations-backed Livcom Awards.

The future looks bright, too. with construction under way on the Ocean Reef Marina, a world-class recreational, boating, residential and tourism precinct. For more than a decade the city, backed by overwhelming support from its community, invested significant financial and human resources to progress this transformational project to a shovel-ready stage.

The Joondalup Activity Centre Plan has an objective to increase employment in the Joondalup city centre to 45,000 jobs by 2050 — and current jobs growth indicates we’re on track to achieve that target.

If you ask me, everything good about the Australian way of life can be found in this stretch of paradise. It’s home to some stunning natural assets, including 17km of world-class coastline and beautiful lakes and wetlands.

In a quarter of a century, we’ve flourished into a successful, highly liveable and vibrant civic and cultural destination home to a diverse range of successful businesses and professional services.

It’s been a successful journey so far, but there’s still many chapters to be written and I for one can’t wait to see Joondalup and its residents continue to grow and thrive.