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06 - Stirling Towers Highgate

Stirling Towers

Timeline

1971 - Stirling Towers is built, containing 79 Homeswest family units.

1999 - The three-storey block of 12 units on Stirling Street is built. This is located on the far end of the carpark on the same block.

 

2004May 20: Honourable Alannah MacTiernan MLC states that Stirling Towers had been constructed by private sector developers and upon going broke, friends in the Liberal Party decided that the Department of Housing and Works would purchase the apartment complex. “Located in the building were almost exclusively persons from the subcontinent who enjoyed living in that environment. It was anything but a social disaster”.

2011May 22: The WA Government is being criticised for spending more than $400,000 on installing a new lift at Government House in time to accommodate the Queen when she visits Perth in October. Perth MLA John Hyde states that the Barnett government needs to start caring about the housing for seniors in West Australian as well as the Homeswest residents at Stirling Towers struggling with old elevators to gain access up 11 floors” (Australian Associated Press).

 

2011May 24: Perth MLA John Hyde expresses disappointment that Government House recently received a new lift at a cost of $445,000 when the Homeswest residents at Stirling Towers were battling with old malfunctioning to access 14 floors (previously stating 11 floors?) (Guardian Express, p3).

2013 - April 8: Highgate residents speak out, following a police operation targeting street prostitution in the area. Aside from needles and empty packets constantly found on the side of the road in close proximity to Stirling Towers, the apartments were believed to be the base for 6-10 regular street prostitutes.

2013 - May 23: The Department of Housing advertises a tender for two lifts to be installed and commissioned at Stirling Towers to replace the existing ones onsite, which is open to international submissions. They are to be “two new Machine Room Less (MRL) lifts including 12 months maintenance warranty” and to be provided as “robust, reliable, efficient, code compliant and technically advanced electric traction MRLs” (Gov Australia Live).

2013May 27: The Department of Housing calls for tenders for the supply, installation and commissioning of two new lifts at Stirling Towers by June 6 (TenderNews).

 

2013December 9: A tender is advertised for a plumbing and drainage program at Stirling Towers by the Department of Housing, which will close on 13 December. It had been previously been advertised on November 9, with the wrong address of number 29 Smith Street in lieu of the correct Stirling Towers address at no.49 and has not been corrected until now (TenderNews).

2014 - June 19: Department of Housing's Project Manager Matt Negus, outlines two options to Town of Vincent councillors. They could retain the apartment complex as 100% public housing or demolish it, redevelop the site and sell 90% of the new apartments as affordable private homes. It comes as "the neighbourhood is currently plagued with drugs, vandalism and squatters using the laundry as a toilet".

03 - April 2021

04 - May 2021

2015 - November 4: Seven units in the Stirling Towers complex remain tenanted and although they've been offered other accommodation, they refuse to move out.

2015 - December 2: The Department of Housing try to move out the remaining tenants into other suitable accommodation, as a multitude of complains continue to be received about the building, in particular, squatters, drug use and general anti-social behaviour. Reported petty thefts and incidents begin spreading out to surrounding properties and on the streets. Police become heavily involved. The City of Vincent meet with the Department of Housing's maintenance officer, who has recently blocked off the top few apartment levels to make them inaccessible. Although the Department have a long term plan of more than two years, there are no plans to repair the units (Sunday Times, p2).

2015 - December 20: Three squatters are evicted from Stirling Towers as a result of police Operation Ahmoseto, which is targeting squatters who reside in empty inner-city buildings in an attempt to tackle a spike in petty crime.

2016 - January 21: The Department of Housing presents concept plans for Stirling Tower's redevelopment at the City of Vincent's design advisory committee meeting. These are subsequently given the approval.

2016 - January 26: The Housing Authority's Commercial Operations General Manager Gary Shaw, states that all windows have now been boarded up and the apartment complex is fenced off. Security has also been increased with the "installation of temporary timber panel fencing," which will remain in place until the complex has been demolished. Only two apartments remain occupied by this stage. City of Vincent chief executive Len Kosova is under the impression no development application has been lodged (Guardian Express, p5).

2016 - March 9: Onsite security are now present 24/7 at Stirling Towers.

 

2016March 11: The Housing Authority drops leaflets into neighbouring homes, detailing plans to paint a mural over the chipboard, which surrounds the perimeter of Stirling Towers.

2016 - March 29: Local artist Mel McVee starts painting the 23-piece fencing panels that border the vacant Stirling Towers. "Native flora and fauna, as well as historic architecture and a map of the Highgate area, will all be included in the mural" (Guardian Express, p6).

2016 - June 21: The Department of Housing presents further concept plans to the City of Vincent's design advisory committee meeting, which are also approved.

2016 - September 5: The State Government release a tender to demolish Stirling Towers. Other sources say this was advertised in December, although perhaps two sets of demolition tenders were listed.

2016 - September 28: The tender to demolish Stirling Towers closes.

2016 - November 30: Expressions of interest are called on by the State Government, "for experienced developers to financially participate" with the Housing Authority "and to provide development management services". Tenders are due by 31 January 2017 (TenderNews).

05 - July 2021

2017 - March: Stirling Towers is expected to be demolished this month.

2017 - July 28: More than 20 people attend a community art project to help complete a second mural on the site of the three-storey block of 12 units on the Stirling Street side.

2017 - September 21: Department of Communities Acting General Manager of Commercial Operations Nigel Hindmarsh, is present at the Assembly Estimates Committee B. He states that the planning for the refurbishment of Stirling Towers is, "well underway." Public housing will account for at least 25% of the accommodation.

2018 - February: The Housing Authority are in contract negotiation talks with a preferred partner for redeveloping the Stirling Towers complex but the potential partners withdraw from the procurement process.

2018 - March 5: Security Shift Incident Report - 9th floor stairwell door kicked in. Two units on that floor have had someone living in them for the past 3-4 days. 11th floor door has been kicked in. A lot of activity has been happening on this floor. 5th floor door has been left open with fresh graffiti on all the walls of the unit. 2nd and 3rd floor doors have been left unlocked from being kicked open. Door on the bottom floor room near Airing Room has been tampered with since two weeks ago and someone has been sleeping in there.

2018 - March 27: The Department of Fire and Emergency Services staff abseil down the 11-storey apartment complex as part as their rescue training.

2018 - April 07: Security Shift Incident Report - Security do a patrol at 6.55pm around the grounds, when a 43 year old Aboriginal man comes out of a first floor unit, yelling abuse and punching walls. He is talking to someone who that isn't there before turning on the security officer with threats. The officer backs away and calls the police, who quickly attend to remove him.

2018 - April 22: Security Shift Incident Report - At 2am, someone breaks the fire control room panel button, which triggers the fire alarm. No fire is detected but because security haven't been given a (local?) number to call the fire department, they attend at 2.15am. Firefighters repair the panel and disarm the alarm, leaving at 3am after inspecting the building. A second fire brigade attend the apartments to repair a broken fire panel at 3.30am but it's not clear whether or not it's the same one and if someone has intentionally damaged it again, causing the fire alarm to sound. The fire department leave at 4am. The control room door is still broken and has been that way for six weeks.

2018 - July 20: Stirling Towers has now been vacant for four years, although some sources say it was vacated in 2016, possibly as a result of the seven or so tenants who refused to move out.