Bringing Subi back

The Pop-Up will boost local businesses and entertain locals of all ages. Photo: Erin Harwood.

Subiaco businesses may receive the lively boost they need when the RAC Reconnect WA Pop-Up Square opens on March 26.

The zone on the corner of Churchill Avenue and Rokeby Road will play host to a variety of activations, performances and workshops, providing people with a space to connect and unwind.

Activities such as mini-golf, light shows and live story readings will occupy children, while in the evening there are more adult-fun activities such as silent disco yoga.

Subiaco mayor Penny Taylor says the event was conceived after members of the community identified the potential benefits of exposing already-loved local venues.

“This is a really beautiful spot, which not only takes full advantage of our business vibrancy and encourages it,” she said.

“It will also be valued by our residents who can enjoy the space and come together.”

The event is run in partnership with the RAC Reconnect WA initiative, which is a $1 million strategy to revitalise the social environment in local communities.

Subiaco was hit after the removal of AFL matches, followed by the demolition of Subiaco Oval in 2019, taking away an average of 70,000 to 100,000 people per football season.

Infographic: Erin Harwood.

Census data shows growth in the Subiaco population, however local business owners say these statistics aren’t reflected in their sales.  

The Painted Teapot owner Kalpanie Fernando says she hopes the event will bring new people in, and remind current residents why they love Subiaco.

Audio: Erin Harwood.

Many people have expressed their concern for the future of the neighbourhood and surrounding businesses, but leaders are more hopeful.

RAC Group executive of social and community impact Patrick Walker says while the event only runs until May 9, the results will last.

“[The project] is inspired by feedback from the local community and we hope it will help lay the foundations for longer-term changes which support safer, sustainable and connected communities.”

Other RAC Reconnect WA projects have also shown great success, but Ms Taylor says the location itself should be enough to draw people in.

“You get to sit there in the autumn sunshine, with the cafés in the corner, and it’s a really nice place for people to come and stay.”

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