The dust-covered industrial west end of Port Hedland could soon be home to a rooftop bar as part of a development application submitted by a Singaporean developer for a six-storey, 300-room hotel. Endorsed at the Town of Port Hedland Council’s November ordinary meeting, the hotel would feature a restaurant space, gym and conference room on the ground floor, with a pool on the second floor. Floors two to six would comprise 300 rooms — including executive suites — with a 400sqm rooftop bar the cherry on top. A sticking point in the officer’s report on the proposal was, however, parking space. Under the West End Scheme No. 1, the site would need to have a minimum of 256 parking bays to cover guests, restaurant patrons and staff — but a variation submitted by the developer, and deemed acceptable by Town officers, would include just 118 bays parking for the site. Conditions of the Town’s approval included a maximum three-month stay for any guest during any 12-month period, among other landscaping and environmental management plans being enacted. Market analysis compiled by consulting firm Pracsys, which was included in the attachments for the November council meeting, points to “predictable, consistent and high occupancy” because of rotating mining and resource crews. “Five resource companies in Hedland, each with their own shutdown crews . . . from 50-300 people on average one-week swings with 12-hour shifts,” the analysis read. “Shutdown crews (are) mostly accommodated in camps, but demand exists at the beginning and end of swings across all companies.” The report did, however, point to low-medium tourism demand for the hotel rooms. “Port Hedland is a drive-through tourist destination, frequented by ‘grey nomads’ and younger adventure travellers,” it said. “Tourists have limited expectations of high-standard accommodation, and inbound tourist-specific flights are rare.” The analysis said of the 1.1 million nights spent in Hedland by visitors in 2017, only 155,000 were fulfilled by “hotel or similar”, with the remaining 913,000 falling under the category of “other”, which included staying with friends or relatives, in caravan parks or sleeping rough. Town of Port Hedland Mayor Peter Carter said despite the obvious skew towards the project fulfilling industry needs, there was plenty for locals to be excited about. “This project will provide locals with more entertainment options,” he said. “While yes, they may not use the rooms themselves, it’s another restaurant and another bar for everyone — and builds on the momentum we have with other projects to enhance livability in the town like the Spoilbank Marina. “Having entertainment and accommodation options like this hotel is just another step towards diversifying Port Hedland. All you have to do is look at Karratha and how many conferences and events they get off the back of their modern infrastructure, entertainment and accommodation — we need to emulate that.” The proposal will now be assessed by the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage.