From the FT:
In a dusty industrial estate next to the world’s biggest iron ore port in Western Australia’s remote Pilbara region, business has never been so bad.
“The rents got so high in the town that when the boom ended, businesses began to die off everywhere,” says Jo Woodward, owner of Jems, a ramshackle building with an eviction notice stuck to its padlocked gate...
Western Australia’s “Pilbara Cities” plan was launched in 2010, at the height of a boom driven by iron ore and the discovery of natural gas off the coast. Several billion dollars have been spent on hospitals, roads and housing to transform the dusty mining towns of about 15,000 people each into living spaces that attract families.
But fears are growing that the drop in mining construction and a recent slide in iron ore prices threaten the future of the flagship project...
“We are focusing our efforts on the type of ‘city-building’ amenities and services such as parks and cafés, which will ensure families want to come and live here,” says Kelly Howlett, mayor of Port Hedland.
“A population of 50,000 is a realistic target. About 1,000 people make Western Australia their home every week and they can’t all go to Perth,” she says.
But locals warn a cooling economy is putting this at risk. Rents have halved in Karratha, record numbers of properties are listed for sale in both towns and some new housing developments lie empty.
Thursday, 21 August 2014
From the FT: