The Hedland Maritime Initiative has acquired around 60 per cent of the original eligible properties under the Port Hedland Voluntary Buy Back scheme.

Providing an update of activities at Port Hedland Industries Council’s Community Industry Forum meeting in February, Karlene Bylund, Managing Director, Hedland Maritime Initiative and General Manager Customer and Strategy for Pilbara Ports said that 86 per cent of the properties had been valued and 62 per cent had been sold or were selling to HMI.

Of the 404 original eligible residential properties, 235 have been acquired.

About 90 per cent of the eligible residential properties are involved in the PHVBS process.

The PHVBS, extended for two years by the State Government, now covers an estimated 433 properties.

As part of the extension, property eligibility was expanded to include commercial or short-stay strata properties within mixed-use developments where HMI has already acquired residential properties.

This was expected to add 29 properties to the eligibility list.

As part of its management of the area, HMI has identified an opportunity to allocate 12 residential properties to be used as a short stay accommodation pool.

HMI is in contract discussions with an operator to provide short stay accommodation management services.

“Using the properties in this way means that the use is consistent with the West End Improvement Scheme 1, because the conditions on the use of these properties is that person cannot occupy the property for any longer than three months over 12 months,” Karlene said.

“It also allows us to use the small number of vacant properties we currently have and reduces the problem of deterioration if they were left vacant.  Hopefully it will help to reduce some of the short-stay accommodation issues in the town.”

Separately, six acquired properties, including four buildings and ancillary structures on two additional properties, will be demolished after they were deemed to pose significant safety concerns because of major structural defects and hazardous materials. Another five properties have buildings that will also be demolished later.

The properties were vacant when acquired by HMI.

Karlene said HMI is working with the contractors and the Town of Port Hedland to ensure the demolitions occur safely, including the removal of any hazardous materials.