Vi­sion a ‘fail­ure’

Kalamunda Reporter - - Front Page - Lau­ren Pi­lat

BUSI­NESSES and res­i­dents in Mid­land have been let down by au­thor­i­ties that promised to trans­form the area into a thriv­ing city, ac­cord­ing to the Swan Cham­ber of Com­merce.

The $10 mil­lion Mid­land Rail­way Square de­vel­op­ment, com­pleted in late 2017, has been la­belled a fail­ure by the cham­ber af­ter busi­ness own­ers have strug­gled to re­main afloat since open­ing their doors in Oc­to­ber.

Sam Oakes and Jayde Ash­worth, who own the Syd and Phyl­lis cafe, bor­rowed $250,000 against Mr Oakes’ par­ents’ home to pur­sue their dream of open­ing their own busi­ness in Mid­land.

The cou­ple said their liveli­hood was now at risk be­cause of a lack in foot traf­fic de­spite the Metropoli­tan Re­de­vel­op­ment Author­ity, State Gov­ern­ment and lo­cal gov­ern­ment promis­ing to re­ju­ve­nate the area.

Fund­ing for the multi-mil­lion dol­lar project was cut in the State Bud­get.

Cham­ber pres­i­dent Gerry Hanssen said it was “ob­vi­ous” that the MRA and gov­ern­ment had “no vi­sion, com­mer­cial nous or vi­sion” to make Mid­land an at­trac­tive go-to place.

“I won­der when all the var­i­ous de­part­ments and con­sul­tants are go­ing to listen to peo­ple in Mid­land and make things hap­pen,” he said.

Ms Ash­worth said the lack of care for the area was un­fair and was now af­fect­ing their lives.

“The area has had so much money sunk into it and it’s com­pleted but there’s no ad­ver­tis­ing and we’re the ones af­fected,” she said.

“On week­ends we are busy and week­days are com­pletely dead.”

An MRA spokes­woman said de­spite a re­duc­tion in fund­ing for the Mid­land project in the State Bud­get, the MRA was still de­liv­er­ing on a master plan de­signed to strengthen the area’s role as a strate­gic metropoli­tan cen­tre, en­abling it to be­come a “thriv­ing city, ma­jor tran­sit hub and em­ploy­ment des­ti­na­tion”.

She said Mr Oakes and Ms Ash­worth con­cerns were shared by the MRA, which was work­ing with the con­sul­tant team for so­lu­tions.

Plan­ning Min­is­ter Rita Saf­fi­oti said she was con­cerned about is­sues fac­ing small busi­ness own­ers and she would be dis­cussing the Rail­way Square de­vel­op­ment with Mid­land MLA Michelle Roberts and the MRA.

“As we’re op­er­at­ing in a tight fis­cal en­vi­ron­ment, some ex­pen­di­ture was re­duced and pri­or­ity fo­cused on project com­ple­tion,” she said.

“I be­lieve the area will see more foot traf­fic as more res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ments are com­pleted and other busi­nesses and ser­vices are es­tab­lished.”

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