Spearwood residents fear suburb is being “left behind”

Plans to develop and upgrade the area around Phoenix Shopping Centre have been shelved.
Plans to develop and upgrade the area around Phoenix Shopping Centre have been shelved.

THE loss of shops, services and the City of Cockburn administration’s potential move east have a group of Spearwood residents fearing their suburb is being “left behind”.

Resident John Cunai said a steady stream of organisations, businesses and potentially the City of Cockburn itself leaving the area, coupled with proposed developments that did not seem to be going anywhere, had many local residents worried.

“Coles is no longer. The bowling club was always planning to go but there is the vacant land there and the City of Cockburn has announced they want to move to Cockburn Central and all of a sudden you’re thinking ‘what is going on?’” he said.

“We’ve fallen off the radar.”

Amongst proposed improvements was a draft activity centre structure plan put to council in May 2016, which aimed to make the area surrounding Phoenix Shopping Centre more pedestrian friendly by introducing new entries to the centre and reducing Rockingham Road to one lane, while also lowering the speed limit to 50km/h.

It was shelved indefinitely just 10 months later.

Mr Cunai, who was a member of the now defunct Spearwood Community Association, said cobwebs on plans such as these, which he believed would have been a good initial step in revitalising the area, had residents unhappy.

“In 2007 the old Spearwood Community Association played a major part in a visioning/revitalisation workshop for the main Rockingham road precinct with the City of Cockburn, where over 200 interested residents attended and contributed ideas for the future development of this area,” he said.

“However nine years elapsed and all the Spearwood residents would hear and read was other suburb revitalisation such as Coolbellup , Yangebup , Hamilton Hill, but these suburbs had been identified after Spearwood’s main big plan.

“What we’re concerned about now is that they’re going to delay again.”

City of Cockburn chief executive Stephen Cain said they had undertaken staged improvements to the suburb since it became the first of their revitalisation areas in 2009.

“Some of the key infrastructure highlights completed to date include the Spearwood Avenue upgrade ($1.24m), Spearwood Avenue extension ($2.28m), interim seniors centre ($735,000) and Spearwood Skate Park ($360,000),” he said.

“There are a number of pieces of a puzzle that the City has recently dealt with that will allow us to move on with further improvements to the current Civic precinct.

“With relocation of the bowling club and planning for a new Administration Centre, the City has been working on concept plans for the construction of its planned ‘Learning for Life’ centre, which will see a new seniors centre, library, youth space and some other facilities to replace the current facilities.

“Spearwood is certainly not the forgotten suburb; it remains as important as all our other 21.”

Spearwood residents with concerns or who want to find out more are invited to attend a community meeting on at Spearwood Primary School from 7pm, November 14.