As civic headaches go, what would become of Perth City Hall must have caused more sleepless nights than any other single issue of recent years for councillors and their officials.
As soon as the doors opened at Perth Concert Hall the imposing Edwardian edifice became a monumental white elephant, a consequence which had been largely overlooked and unforeseen.
While praise was heaped on the new concert hall by performers and audiences, the rudderless path of the city hall became an open sore which festered for more than a decade.
Under pressure from heritage watchdogs – and a fair proportion of the local population who regard the building with great affection – moves to demolish the city hall were blocked and repeated efforts to find a commercial use foundered.
Hitting on the idea of a cultural attraction proved an inspired (if not before time) decision, pleasing most with a workable, affordable use for a structure which lies at the very heart of the city.
With all this history in mind, the decision by councillors last week to plump for a design by Dutch firm Mecanoo was a red letter day – the first clear way forward for the building in many years and as such must be applauded.
While some (major) points have yet to evolve – will it house the Stone of Destiny and what exactly are the exhibits which will draw the hoped for crowds to Perth – there is now a real sense that the sorry tale will have a happy ending.
There has been — inevitably considering the tortuous journey to this stage — a complaint about the selection process which arrived at Mecanoo.
But let’s hope that the path to conversion and opening in 2021 is not beset by any major problems – and the need for acres more of newsprint coverage – which have marred the city’s reputation for getting things done for the past 12 years.