The recent transformation from mining towns to vibrant, liveable Pilbara communities marks a new era of normalisation for the region. The Pilbara is now characterised by first-class public amenities and high-quality health and education facilities and services, and is a place people are choosing to call home, start a business and raise a family.
The State Government’s substantial investment in the redevelopment of the Karratha, South Hedland, Newman and Tom Price CBDs and landmark recreation and leisure projects such as the Karratha Leisureplex, the East Pilbara Arts Centre and the Wanangkura Stadium in South Hedland, has provided a unique opportunity to promote a rebranded message that capitalises on the significant improvements in social infrastructure that have reshaped the region from where it was ten years ago.
There has also been a strong focus on improving outcomes for Aboriginal people through investment in new infrastructure to support employment and business development, through to more recent work with town based reserve communities to develop plans for improving access to services and liveability.
Building cohesive and resilient Pilbara communities that enjoy a high quality of life and well-being is critical to attracting and retaining a resident population, increasing workforce availability and facilitating new business development, making it a key part of realising the region’s vision for 2050. The Commission is working in partnership with government, the community and business to achieve a number of strategic objectives that aim to unlock the Pilbara’s potential in achieving vibrant and sustainable communities, and make the 2050 vision a reality.
Pilbara Town Based Reserves
The Pilbara Town Based Reserved Project is a major initiative of the State Government to improve the lives of Aboriginal people living in the Pilbara. The project aims to ensure that Aboriginal people living in Pilbara town based reserves receive the same services and opportunities, and have the same responsibilities as residents of the town. This project is being led by the Pilbara Development Commission. Individual plans for each town based reserve are expected to be completed in 2017.
Nickol West Park Expansion
The expansion of Nickol West Park, in Karratha, will enable the popular park to be used for organised sport with dedicated soccer and rugby facilities, and lighting towers. The expansion will also increase amenities with additional barbeques, picnic areas, toilets and walkways to meet the needs of the growing population. The project is managed by the City of Karratha.
Expansion Onslow Boardwalk Refurbishment
The Ian Blair Memorial Boardwalk stretches 1,017 metres along the Onslow coastline through natural vegetation. The refurbishment project will replace aging timber boards with more durable plastic composite material as well as see the installation of a series of interpretive signage which will share modern and historical stories of Onslow.
Karratha Foreshore Revitalisation: Maitland Road Node
This project is part of the City of Karratha’s strategic foreshore management plan to improve recreational facilities for residents and visitors. Shelters, parking, footpaths and improved pedestrian access will activate the popular stretch of coastline and enhance the level of protection for natural vegetation. The majority of the project components have been delivered, with interpretative signage due for installation late-2017.
Pilbara Aboriginal Place Names
The IBN Aboriginal Place Names partnership project aims to research and catalogue place names in traditional languages for significant sites, such as hills, rivers and waterholes, located on the Yinhawangka, Banjyima and Nyiyaparli lands of the inland Pilbara. The project will capture the information into a language database, transfer details onto a digital mapping platform and develop a wall map of the area.
Yintakaja Helicopter Mapping Project
This project will map and document waterholes and other significant sites along cultural routes in Martu country. Waterholes are the basis of songlines, which form the foundations of Martu culture. The project team will fly in a helicopter with Martu Elders to identify and map site coordinates, cultural information, photos and film. The information and resources collected will be available through the KJ Community Library and the Wanyja Waterhole Database.
Newman Aquatic Centre Redevelopment Plans
The continued investment in sports and recreation will improve, maintain and enhance the quality of life of people in the East Pilbara. To support this, the Shire of East Pilbara will prepare detailed concept plans for the redevelopment of the existing Newman Aquatic Centre, including the consideration of a heated program pool for learn-to-swim classes and aqua aerobics classes.
Wangka-Iampaju (Our Language)
A Martu language team will work with Elders to capture and record traditional language from some of the last people to be born and raised in the Western Desert. Together they will identify language preservation priorities and record specialised vocabulary. A suite of multimedia resources will also be developed including voice recordings and short films which will be catalogued and used by the Martu community, rangers and schools to implement two-way learning to revitalise Martu language in daily life.