PORT HEDLAND ENQUIRY BY DESIGN
PORT HEDLAND ENQUIRY BY DESIGN
30 October 2004
1 October 2004
1 November 2005
Town planning in Port Hedland has reached at a critical stage due to
the demands of the dramatically growing resource industry. Decisions
need to be made concerning how and where the community should grow and
develop. Port Hedland faces both challenges and opportunities if it is
to balance economic growth and an expanding population with improved
liveability. While the growing resource industry and port activity are
in some ways constraints, in other ways they are opportunities -
providing the impetus to re-examine and re-design the town to improve
It was decided to involve the community together with planning
experts to determine how and where the townsite should grow and
develop, exploring the possibilities for the renewal and expansion of
the town, to make it more liveable.
To deal holistically with these issues, a comprehensive community
engagement process was developed that included a community survey of
350 respondents; an Enquiry by Design that enabled about 30 technical
experts to work together with about 150 community members over 3 days
to develop plans for the future growth of the town; and that employed
innovative technology, a "21st Century Town Meeting", to ensure
participant's ideas were captured and common ground was sought,
providing immediate feed back
21st Century Town Meeting
To understand the community's values, issues and priorities on
growth and liveability in Hedland.
Enquiry by Design
To provide an interactive process over several days that seeks
win-win solutions, using urban renewal best practice principles and
design. A multi disciplinary team of technical experts work with
community members to create an urban design that meets the needs of the
community. This is achieved by incorporating the values and feedback of
the community stakeholders into evolving plans created by the technical
team. Although its findings are usually non binding, in this instance,
the State, regional and local governments agreed to seriously consider
the findings and action them where feasible.
21st Century Town Meeting
Similar to Dialogue with the City, the Hedland process drew
on the methodology of the 21st Century Town Meeting - a large scale
meeting, with small group, facilitated, interactive discussion to
encourage deliberation; networked computers to record individual and
group ideas and prioritise issues; and a theme team to discern the
common themes of the room, virtually in 'real time'.
An independent research company carried out a community telephone
survey which focussed on Port Hedland.
There were 350 respondents, all residents of Hedland, 54% from Port
Hedland and 46% from other Hedland areas
- 96% rated the port and its industry as important to the
prosperity of the town
negative impacts were recognised, with 76% stating that air quality was
serious or very serious, primarily affecting Port Hedland, and
declining with distance from the port.
- Port Hedland and
South Hedland were both seen to be residential, commercial and
administrative centres (although South Hedland residents thought South
was more appropriate for these uses). Both agreed Port Hedland was more
suited to tourism
- Wedgefield was seen primarily as suited to
industry, although almost a third of people felt that some residential
activity was appropriate in Wedgefield.
- 56% of people felt
that the town centre should remain in Wedge Street, however, there was
little support for residential or industrial activities in this area.
- It was felt that police stations, banks and post offices should
be duplicated in both Port and South Hedland.
- 88% of people felt that population growth would be good for
Hedland residents felt that both Port and South were equally suited to
being expanded. Non-Port Hedland residents felt that South Hedland was
considerably more suited to expansion.
Prior to the Forums
A small Steering Team consisting of representatives from the Town of
Port Hedland and the Pilbara Development Commission determined that the
following issues needed to be addressed by the Enquiry-by-Design forums:
- Futures for the West End of Port Hedland
- Housing shortage and housing choice
- Industrial land
- South/North. Rationalization of services. Infrastructure, both
hard and community.
A technical group gathered together the recent research (Social
Impacts Study, Dust Study, Collective Impacts Study and Community
Participant Briefing Pack
Summaries of this recent research were developed, agreed to by the
Steering Team, and then distributed to the participants of the
community engagement prior to the Enquiry-by-Design forums.
Enquiry-by Design Forums
To ensure participation was representative of the population - over
� were from the random sample, � were from stakeholder invitations and
� from respondents to newspaper advertisements. Due to a large bush
meeting as well as Ramadan, there were fewer indigenous and ethnic
participants than expected.
The first community forum, on 30 October, determined the key issues
and how they should be prioritised. One hundred and forty participants
determined their hopes for the future as well as the priority issues
affecting Port Hedland, including better integration of Port and South,
and more liveable housing areas. At the conclusion of the forum all
participants received a copy of the forum outcomes.
The team of thirty technical experts then spent the next day working
from the community�s priorities as well as the current planning and
environmental research, to develop plans for Hedland and documenting
options on maps
The second community forum, on 31 October, examined the options
developed by the technical expert group and suggested what changes were
needed. One hundred and twenty participants examined the options and
indicated what they supported, what they did not, and potential
alternatives. All participants received a copy of the workshop outcomes.
Over the following day, the technical team further developed the
plans, responding to the community suggestions where feasible.
The community review of the plans then followed on 1 November. The
plans and maps documenting the strategic framework were presented to
eighty community participants. The community asked questions and made
suggestions. All participants received a copy of the review outcomes.
Following Workshop 1
Following Workshop 2
- 98% of participants who responded thought the workshop was great
- 96% said they would come to another workshop like it.
- Most found the experience a positive one, which confirmed the
community's commitment to change with better outcomes for all eg. "we
have more in common than not, most people want change regardless of
living in Port or South Hedland".
- Many expressed hope that this workshop would be a springboard for
- Some expressed cynicism at the role of BHP and the commitment of
the State Government to resource the outcomes.
- Some commented that the workshop assisted them to understand the
complexity of the problems which exist.
- 95 % of participants who responded thought the workshop was great
thought that workshop 2 was harder, given some contentious issues and
the difficulty of resolving them, particularly Wedgefield - eg.. "why
is it OK to leave residents in the West End, but imperative to move
- Response to the technical team input was varied from � "technical
team listened and came up with good plans through to "decisions
were influenced by experts"
- Concerns about BHP's role continued to be voiced eg. "need to
put people before dirt" and "the future of Port Hedland is
still uncertain, BHP should legally be made to clean up"
- Many appreciated the process, eg "Enquiry
by Design should become the standard for planning. It's more
challenging for the community but more credible and understandable"
The following principles and proposals were broadly supported.
Several issues remained contentious with a minority of participants
including the residential component of Wedgefield, and the down zoning
of West End.
- Protection of the floodplain
- Confronting the social divide
- Direct Connections
- Reinforcing - Land Use, Movement
- Sequence of Experience
- Wedgefield is a general industrial area
- The residential component of Wedgefield is not sustainable in the
- Need to develop strategies to facilitate the relocation of
- The timing of relocations depends on the risks
Cooke Point / Pretty Pool
- Better & more accessible services & facilities (ie.
Health education, transport)
- Revitalise Town Centre (entertainment & commercial uses)
- Create a clean, safe, sustainable & vibrant town.
- Centralise recreational & cultural facilities
- Build environmentally friendly Pilbara style housing with a mix
of lot densities
- Acknowledge the need for revitalisation of South Hedland as the
major housing focus
- Cooke Point and Pretty Pool areas are the residential focus for
- Short-medium term expansion of 200 lots identified in Pretty Pool
- Very long term future potential sites identified for evaluation.
The following principles are based on the assumptions that there are
no significant health issues associated with dust.
Rules for Coexistence
- The Port and Industry facilities will remain.
- There will be ongoing pressure for industrial development centred
on the port.
- Relocation of residents is not warranted.
- There is a need for clear rules for coexistence
- Continuous improvement framework for dust management
- Performance standards established for all industry players
- Industry should make a contribution to improving the West End.
- No increase in residents; residents will not be forced to
- The focus on the existing assets in the Port Hedland (heritage,
- Community to participate in decision making.
Following the Forums
- A better understanding of the issues and less uncertainty for all.
- A strategic framework which integrates all the 'bits of the
- Active community input in developing the framework.
- Clear directions on the critical issues.
Open Public Comment
A draft report was produced within two weeks of the
Enquiry-by-Design forums and was widely distributed to the community
for public comment.
Following the 4 week public comment period, the community
submissions were analysed and the report was adjusted accordingly.
The final report was submitted to the Town of Port Hedland, the
Pilbara Development Commission and the State Government for their
response. An implementation plan is currently being considered by the
Although the Enquiry-by-Design process always involves the
community, this input is usually far more limited in representation and
deliberation than at these forums. The technical planners were most
concerned that the community would not be able to reach common ground
and that the process would stall. This did not occur. Because of the
way a 21st Century Town Meeting is structured, it is possible to
rapidly seek common ground among a large group of people. As is clear
from the participant responses to key proposals, documented in the
table above, the extent of agreement was high.
Additionally, there was concern that with the community engagement
continuing over a three day period - Saturday, Sunday and Monday
evening - there would be a large drop-off in participation. This did
not occur. The reduced numbers on the 3rd day of review was largely a
result of the shift work commitments of a resource industry town.
Although many of the issues were contentious, participants showed
remarkable goodwill towards the process and consideration of others'
positions throughout the three days.
Probably the most contentious issue was the proposition of residents
no longer remaining in the industrial precinct of Wedgefield. One
unhappy participant left after the second day and returned to speak to
the media, resulting in very negative media coverage of the process.
However, feedback from the local Shire and letters to the organisers
indicated that the broad town consensus was that the engagement was
seen as very positive - particularly if it resulted in action.