South is beachy

COOGEE community groups and Cockburn council officials are set to meet in September to discuss having another crack at changing the name of North Coogee to South Beach and Port Coogee. 

The South Beach Community Group and Port Coogee Community Association began a collaborative effort in 2019 to change the name of the northern residential area of North Coogee to South Beach. 

The SBCG claims extensive historical research has identified parts of Cockburn once known as South Beach, so they reckon the name change would be in part a reversal.

The proposal was assessed by Landgate in 2021, the advisory body to the Geographic Naming Committee, but it was knocked back. 

SBCG vice chair Neil Chamberlain says Landgate should have approved the name according to its own policy guidelines which focus on community support. 

“There is no doubt in our community group committees that there is enough community support for the name change,” Mr Chamberlain said. 

The formal proposal submitted by SBCG and PCCA included a petition of 2307 signatures, along with over 8o letters of support by local business owners, developers, and other community groups. 

The policies and standards document that governs name changes, states that even though some changes might not be necessary, they can be approved with “enough community support”.

Landgate also knocked back the petition on the basis the name South Beach for the suburb might confuse emergency services, but Mr Chamberlain says that’s a “red herring”. 

“The reality is that when you ring up for emergency services, you give a lot more detail than just saying you’re at South Beach,” he said. 

Compelling

The SBCG also believes the proposal was shut down in part due to there not being a South Beach in the suburb, but Mr Chamberlain says the North Coogee dog beach would naturally become South Beach dog beach if the change were to go ahead, which would solve the problem.

In May this year the community groups met with Landgate and the council to discuss Sandgate’s decision and were told to put forward a more “compelling case”.

Mr Chamberlain says it makes sense to change the name as North Coogee and Port Coogee are two different locations. 

“If you consider the two areas, geographically they’re very separate,” Mr Chamberlain said. 

“The rationale and reasons as to why the Landgate representative is taking such a stance with regards to a South Beach suburb name are believed by the SBCG representatives to be unfair, unreasonable and unjust.”

Margaret and Allan are North Coogee residents from the ritzy Port Coogee enclave south of the heritage listed South Fremantle Power Station. 

“If I say to my friends I live in North Coogee, they don’t know which part I mean,” Allan said. 

The Chook also ran into three South Freo residents crossing the border into North Coogee to walk their dog through the South Beach Village’s manicured pathways.

“Absolutely, North Coogee was always an industrial area, and the beach was black and polluted,” one said in support of the name change. “South Beach is much better.”

Marika was one of the first residents in the South Beach Village development when it opened 14 years ago and says being in North Coogee has been a bit confusing for some visitors; though if the name stays the same she won’t be too worried.

“A lot of people, when you say North Coogee – especially when we first arrived, they would go right down to Coogee, not realising we were so close to Fremantle,” Marika said.

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