ISAAC GROVES AND NICOLETTE BARBAS
Two demands presented by traders of the Mends Street cafe strip have been dismissed by a City of South Perth director respectively as “unworkable” and not “in the best interests” of the businesses themselves.
A 364-signature petition submitted by Mends Street News & Supplies owner Paul Noble on behalf of local business owners demanded that the city compensate small businesses the petition said were in decline due to surrounding construction.
It was this demand that council infrastructure service director Mark Taylor has deemed “unworkable” in a report considered by his political masters at a meeting on May 23. Mr Taylor advised it would be “difficult to assess who is eligible and who isn’t” for the mooted compensation.
A second demand in the petition that pop-up businesses be banned from South Perth was deemed by Mr Taylor to not “be in the best interests of the businesses”, many of which had made the demand.
When pressed today on Mr Taylor’s observation about pop-ups being good for established businesses in the area, Mr Noble asked, rhetorically: “How can they be?”
Mr Noble said small businesses on Mends Street were suffering “severe” economic downturn due to “unprecedented and uncoordinated construction” in the area.
“The livelihood of many retail owners in Mends Street is being destroyed through no fault of their own,” he said.
“The once beautiful ambience of the Mends Street area is now a huge construction site and will become worse within the next three to six months …,
“The shoppers have gone.”
At Mends Street today, South Perth resident and retired engineer Harry Anstey said the buildings under construction were “totally out of character” with the strip’s architectural heritage.
“The buildings that have been approved are right up to the boundary,” he said.
“There [will be] no street interaction.
“Many existing retailers have courtyard areas, allowing people to sit looking onto the street.”
The petition stated that in the past six months 40 per cent of public car parking had been removed, 60 per cent of shops in the strip demolished, and public footpaths and access ways closed.
“While there is free parking in the area it is located on the foreshore and not on Mends Street, driving people to the wrong area,” Mr Noble told Western Independent.
South Perth Mayor Sue Doherty said people were often not aware that there is free parking on and near Mends Street.
“We’re putting in flashing lights indicating the availability of parking bays,” she said.
“The city has already in effect compensated businesses in the precinct, by allowing the first hour parking trial to proceed, estimated to cost $150,000 a year,” she said.
South Perth Peninsula Action Group spokeswoman Vicki Redden said the council was not taking the views of businesses and local residents into consideration.
“A lot of stuff happened really quickly,” she said.
“I do think there could have been more co-ordination.”
Ken Manolas, Councillor for the city’s Mill Point Ward, which takes in Mends Street, was contacted for comment today (Saturday) but said he was too busy at work to comment.
Three voice messages for the other Mill Point Ward councillor, Cheryle Irons, went unanswered,
Photographs by Isaac Groves