Re­ac­tion ‘too lit­tle, too late’

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

SU­BI­ACO Coun­cil re­jected an elected mem­ber’s mo­tion that would have ad­dressed is­sues with high rents and va­cant shops more than 14 months ago.

Coun­cil­lor Paul Cle­ments said the City re­acted “too lit­tle, too late” when chief ex­ec­u­tive Stephen Tin­dale last week an­nounced an au­dit of va­cant shops and rental costs and a round ta­ble dis­cus­sion with land­lords and prop­erty man­agers.

Cr Cle­ments’ mo­tion that City staff col­lect data on the cur­rent mar­ket value of re­tail rentals on Hay Street and Rokeby Road lapsed at the De­cem­ber 17, 2013 coun­cil meet­ing and was later lost at an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and sus­tain­abil­ity com­mit­tee.

“It sticks in your throat that they have now come up with a ver­sion of my elected mem­ber’s mo­tion that should do es­sen­tially the same thing,” the li­censed prop­erty valuer and Prop­erty In­sti­tute of Aus­tralia mem­ber said.

“My mo­tion cer­tainly would have high­lighted is­sues and saved some ten­ants a lot of grief. Hav­ing a pub­lic doc­u­ment would have given a mea­sure of con­fi­dence that the City was con­cerned with and work­ing on high rents in 2013 when the writ­ing was very clearly on the wall for Su­bi­aco.”

Mr Tin­dale said Cr Cle­ments’ mo­tion had called for val­u­a­tion data “pri­mar­ily for arbitration pur­poses”.

“En­cour­ag­ing both new and ex­ist­ing lo­cally- owned busi­nesses to re­main in the City and sup­port­ing the de­vel­op­ment of a di­verse range of shop­ping op­tions are spe­cific strate­gies out­lined in the coun­cil-en­dorsed Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Strat­egy 2013-2017,” he said.

“With the in­tro­duc­tion of a new place man­age­ment ap­proach and pro­vi­sion for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties in the cur­rent bud­get, the City now has a ded­i­cated in­house re­source com­mit­ted to eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.”

Bistro des Artistes owner Alain Fabregues said Mr Tin­dale’s an­nounce­ment ap­peared to be a knee-jerk re­ac­tion to re­cent pub­lic­ity sur­round­ing his and other Su­bi­aco business own­ers’ high rents.

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