Plans to establish a dedicated town centre to breathe new life into the Peel community of Waroona are pushing ahead after a visit by Premier Mark McGowan last week. The WA Government pledged it would pump $1.3 million into a central precinct in the town if it were elected, after years of residents calling for a “heart” for the regional area. The Shire of Waroona has started community consultation for its proposed $5 million revitalisation strategy, which contains plans for the central precinct, including opened grass areas for events, a nature play area and playground, a skate park and pump track, accessible toilets and landscaping. Amenities — such as a post office, supermarket and cafe — are currently spread across the town of 3000 people in a stark comparison to neighbouring centres such as Harvey and Pinjarra, which have bustling main strips. Mr McGowan and Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke met with the Shire last Tuesday to visit the future site of the precinct, off the South Western Highway, following the funding commitment. The Premier said Waroona was a prime spot for a major development that would present opportunities for businesses to thrive and give tourists a reason to stop. “Waroona is a beautiful place and a delightful country town and the key to these sorts of places is to make sure people have a reason to stop,” he said. “(It) is close enough to Perth that you can come here and have a wonderful country getaway and you don’t have to drive a couple of days to get there. Shire president Mike Walmsley said the revitalisation was about increasing tourism and providing better facilities for residents. He said the main issue facing the town was the “tired and dysfunctional” main street that did not engage locals or encourage passers by to stop. “The town’s definitely not dying, it just needs a kick in the back,” he said. “We are trying to reverse that, make it attractive, make it really nice for our own locals as well especially the heart here we want an area for mums, dads and kids to come and play so it’s not just for visitors, it’s for us as well to have a nice area. Ms Clarke said developing the town centre would keep the community strong by connecting local families and keeping residents active and healthy. The shire’s $5 million strategy, being led by a dedicated council-run taskforce, also includes a foreshore strategy for Preston Beach, a truck assembly and breakdown area, better sport and recreation facilities, a Drakesbrook Weir Redevelopment, further support for Waroona abattoirs to create 300 new jobs and post-mining land use for Alcoa’s Wagerup refinery. Cr Walmsley said further funding was needed for other elements of the full revitalisation strategy.