Cable Beach foreshore redesign draws mixed reactions from Broome residents

Initial plans to redevelop one of Western Australia’s best-known and most popular beaches have drawn a mixed response, with local officials saying they are open to changes based on community feedback.

Conceptual designs for the $36.5 million Cable Beach redevelopment include an expanded amphitheater, water play area, viewing platforms and shaded area for pedestrians and cyclists.

Broome Shire vice-chairman Desiree Male said the existing foreshore could look “underwhelming”.

“A large asphalt parking lot takes up the majority of the space, so the main concept is to move this parking lot down and turn it into a wonderful community green space, Cr Male said.

Cable Beach is one of WA’s most popular and well-known beaches.(ABC Kimberley: Sam Tomlin)

“A huge privilege”

Landscape architect firm Josh Byrne worked on the conceptual designs.

“Cable Beach is an iconic place and it’s a huge privilege and a huge responsibility to design well,” said Dr Byrne.

At the first community information session since the plans were released, residents raised concerns about beach access routes, access for the elderly and disabled, and the need for suitable parking.

Dr Byrne said the comments were “really constructive”.

“There will always be mixed responses and it never ceases to amaze me that good ideas come up all the time,” he said.

A curly-haired man sits at a table with a large poster
Josh Byrne says working on the redevelopment is a “huge responsibility”.(ABC Kimberley: Eddie Williams)

“It doesn’t really work”

Johani Mamid, a cultural tourism operator who runs a nighttime turtle nesting experience and other tours on Cable Beach, said he was concerned about the proposed parking lot relocation.

“With the new design, there’s maybe an extra 2km walk for me and my guests, so it’s going to be less appealing, and I feel like I might have to scratch myself [the turtle experience]“, Mr. Mamid said.

A man dressed in khaki and wearing a necklace stands in front of tropical trees at night
Johani Mamid fears the design will have a negative impact on his business.(ABC Kimberley: Eddie Williams)

Dr Byrne said his team would now focus on “digging deeper” into these types of concerns.

“There is still time to consider resolving these [issues],” he said.

Community meeting attendees were optimistic about the idea of ​​pop-up stands and food trucks on the foreshore, and there was support for more shade structures.

Plans could still change

Completed design work is due for completion in May and will include details of public art and interpretive signage.

Construction could begin as early as March 2023, and Cr Male said the county is ready to adjust plans based on public opinions.