The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

The new Northbridge Link plan: could be worse

Wednesday 16 December 2009 at 9:09 pm

Artist's impression of the Northbridge Link plaza; Creative Commons licence does not apply to this image. Artist's impression of the Barnett government waterfront plan; Creative Commons licence does not apply to this image.

Forgive me a way-overdue (and backdated) post, but I’m still one of the top Google results for this, so I figure I ought to post something.

Back in November, the Barnett government released a newly-tweaked plan for “the Link”, the development site next to Perth train station. From the scant detail available, the plan doesn’t suck, and is of course better than what’s there now. But it’s also meagre in foresight (what good’s more open space without stuff around it to draw pedestrians?), and it still has the unfortunate feature of the railway not being underground all the way (alas, the promised Federal funding doesn’t go that far).

Likewise, the new waterfront plan announced a fortnight later is quite reasonable, and probably more realistic than the Carpenter government proposal, but still so far-off in funding and timelines that I expect no end of change between now and the start of construction.

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Barnett’s government shows their brains, or lack thereof

Tuesday 9 June 2009 at 9:48 pm
  • The Western Australian government are apparently a bunch of small-minded stupid folk who wouldn’t be able to devise any kind of vision if their lives depended on it. Or at least, that’s what I conclude from the most recent Perth foreshore proposal. (Even Richard Court aimed higher: Claisebrook Cove ain’t perfect, but it’s still fun.) Kudos to Antzpantz.
  • And again: now that they’re taking delivery of new trains ordered a few years ago — a good thing! — why on earth are they dropping midday service on the Mandurah and Joondalup lines? Those every-7-minutes trains are busy, dang it. (Except for the occasional quiet carriage, but hey, no worse than BART at midday here.) Then again, I guess this government still can’t get over sniping about how the Mandurah Line that was built is better than what the previous Liberal government proposed.
  • Two lighter concluding notes! First, here’s a nice summary of why you should question anyone who parrots the phrase “eight glasses of water per day”.
  • And second, yes, California’s government is still screwed

Premier Barnett!

Sunday 14 September 2008 at 3:18 am

It’s … not a surprise, but it also is a surprise, in that it really wasn’t long ago that Colin Barnett was retiring and the Liberals were screwed. Although I must say that “we’d have to rely on the Greens in the upper house” sounds like an awfully flimsy excuse, unless, y’know, the Nationals plan to push through legislation that sucks.

At least the opposition this time around won’t be so bad. But, given how much the last opposition sucked, and that they are now a minority government, I’m reserving judgement as to what we’ll see. (For instance: “government that has a social conscience”? Yeah, right.)

There’s definitely nothing that makes me hold my breath for anything spectacular out of this government — but then again, it still can’t be as bad as NSW! So I look forward to seeing hundreds of millions of dollars each year be poured into towns of a few hundred people, hospital waiting lists disappear, teachers to suddenly become superbly paid, crime rates to fall through the floor, and stamp duty to be cut.

(Ah, who am I kidding? I’ll be amazed if they pull off any one of those.)

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Perhaps the most awesome of all possible results

Sunday 7 September 2008 at 2:46 am

So, on the one hand, it’s never much fun to see a race without a winner.

But given that I am a political nerd, I think a hung parliament is awesome. Given that the campaign was short, mediocre, and predominantly negative … this outcome is great.

I guess having the Olympics to draw people’s attention while Barnett figured out what to do was a good thing, and naturally I concede I completely underestimated the level of disenchantment people had with healthcare, Burke scandals, Carpenter himself, and so forth. I’m particularly impressed that most of the new seats from the one-vote one-value redistribution went to the Libs.

Yet the result seems to say “we really don’t like you, but nor do we trust that other mob”. I think it delicious to imagine the prospect of Alan Carpenter forming a minority government with the Nationals, and being forced to compromise and consult on every decision he takes. This, to me, would be a best-of-both-worlds that tones down his brusqueness while also keeping the only competent team for government that we have. (It is, of course, more likely that the Liberals and Nationals settle their squabble and form government with the independents; most of them are right-leaning, so that’d be more of a business-as-usual story.)

And at least things in Perth aren’t as bad as they are in NSW; competence is apparently harder to come by than I’d have guessed!

P.S. I’m amused that, even though I thought the ballot paper was awfully short when I voted a fortnight ago, I was among the record numbers of people giving first preference to the Greens (a.k.a. the only party in WA to have its act together).


“Close”? Really?

Sunday 31 August 2008 at 5:06 pm

Even though life has consumed me this last fortnight, there’s barely been anything in Western Australian politics to report! (This despite it being a bloomin’ election campaign!)

I was repeatedly hearing claims of media critics apparently becoming disillusioned at Alan Carpenter for being arrogant (because, y’know, John Howard or Richard Court weren’t?) and quoting polls to suggest people would go vote for the Liberals.

Oh, right, the Liberals. Their absence of policy is not as dire as it was a fortnight ago — they are headed in a vaguely positive direction with their education policy, and they’ve made reasonable commitments to the bigger towns (notably Kalgoorlie and Bunbury). But beyond that, their policies consist of … er … some mumblings about tougher punishment (have they budgeted more prison funding?) and a piffling $150 bribe to seniors.

Colin Barnett has squandered the three weeks he’s had to show he’s not the same guy we soundly rejected four years ago, and yet the Premier has said he thinks the election will be close!

srsly, wtf?


So is there to be any difference?

Saturday 9 August 2008 at 2:59 am

Thank heavens Barnett has dumped the canal idea.

But he is also apparently not very attached to the idea of extended shopping hours, even though he’s talking about it. Thus, cutting aside the normal guff about “focussing on the future” and “look! wasteful spending, e.g. OSS!” … I fail to see any significant policy difference in the Liberal Party. And with everyone’s attention elsewhere, there’s no way he’s going to be able to get anyone to care about announcements.

In other news, the sudden conflict in South Ossetia has me wondering about what modern Russia is becoming, and the misinformation from both sides is awfully depressing, with terrible echoes of Yugoslavia or Chechnya in the 1990s …

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