Vision a ‘failure’
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.”