Own­ers in food fight

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By LISA THOMAS

SU­BI­ACO’S Home Base gen­eral man­ager Gino Premici has ac­cused Su­bi­aco coun­cil­lors of poor gov­er­nance af­ter they knocked back Grow­ers Lane food mar­ket for a sec­ond time.

The City was in­vited to re­con­sider the ap­pli­ca­tion by the State Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal (SAT) at Tues­day night’s coun­cil meet­ing, but voted 64 against the pro­posal and the of­fi­cer’s rec­om­men­da­tion to ap­prove a change of use from showroom to shop at the site on Sal­vado Road.

The gallery was full of sup­port­ers for pro­po­nent Diep Tran, whose fam­ily op­er­ated TR & TR Fruit and Veg at the Sta­tion Street mar­kets for 12 years. Mr Premici said he be­lieved po­lit­i­cal bias was at work.

“The dif­fi­cult thing for us is the re­port that came back from staff at the City of Su­bi­aco ticked all the boxes,” he said.

“We are frus­trated and dis­ap­pointed, but the plan is to con­tinue the SAT process and work with the Trans to find out the rea­son­ing be­hind the de­ci­sion.”

Ms Tran said her fam­ily would fight the de­ci­sion and take it to trial at the SAT in Au­gust.

“I have no idea why this was not ap­proved. We have sat­is­fied all the cri­te­ria and the City’s own of­fi­cers ap­proved it. I don’t know if there’s a per­sonal agenda, but I am ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed,” she said.

“The com­mu­nity have been amaz­ing and want this, so why aren’t our elected mem­bers rep­re­sent­ing ratepay­ers and look­ing at some­thing that is needed in the com­mu­nity?

“I’m not open­ing a night­club or ap­ply­ing for a liquor li­cense, I’m open­ing a fruit and veg shop to ser­vice the com­mu­nity. I don’t un­der­stand why there is op­po­si­tion.”

Ms Tran said she would fight the de­ci­sion and was pos­i­tive Grow­ers Lane would open at the Home Base site in the near fu­ture.

“I am pos­i­tive SAT will ap­prove this,” she said. “We’ve gone out of our way and sat­is­fied all the cri­te­ria, and the re­ports and coun­cil of­fi­cers have rec­om­mended that it be ap­proved.

“We have to fight this. We have so much sup­port from the com­mu­nity, it would be a waste and a let-down if we didn’t.”

Coun­cil­lors voted in­stead to ap­prove Cr Mark Burns’ mo­tion to refuse the ap­pli­ca­tion.

Cr Stephanie Stroud said if the ap­pli­ca­tion was not ap­proved, the coun­cil risked los­ing the busi­ness to an­other sub­urb.

“The Su­bi­aco com­mu­nity and res­i­dents want this unique re­tail of­fer at Sal­vado Road,” she said.

Cr Lee Hem­s­ley said he did not un­der­stand the mo­tives of the peo­ple op­pos­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion.

“There’s a lack of trans­parency here I be­lieve,” he said.

Cr Mur­ray Rowe spoke against the ap­pli­ca­tion and said he wanted the Grow­ers Lane con­cept, but not out of the CBD.

“We’ve got a re­port in front of us with a weak traf­fic and park­ing re­port,” he said. “This is not the place for Grow­ers Lane.

“If we start drop­ping our guard, we will be in trou­ble.”

Cr Burns said he be­lieved the de­ci­sion needed to come from SAT and could not be de­cided based on a three-minute speech.

Cr Ju­dith Gedero said Su­bi­aco was more than Rokeby Road and the shop would bring peo­ple to Su­bi­aco.

“We can­not turn peo­ple away from open­ing a busi­ness if it’s not on Rokeby Road,” she said.

The Grow­ers Lane food mar­ket re­ceived more than 1000 sig­na­tures of sup­port in an on­line pe­ti­tion.

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