Candidates address top community issues

City of Bayswater civic centre.
City of Bayswater civic centre.

THE Bayswater train station upgrade, activating town centres and improving pedestrian and cycling access are among the key issues from community groups ahead of the local government election.

The Reporter asked various community groups in the City of Bayswater to list what they would like to have addressed by successful candidates.

Noranda Vibes chairman Robert McCormack said the group wanted a more vibrant town centre around Hawaiian’s Noranda, Robert Thompson Reserve and Morley Noranda Recreation Club.

“Another top priority is better transport options including maximising the benefits flowing from Metronet, appropriate upgrades to roads to promote safer traffic flows with enhanced pedestrian and cycling options,” he said.

The Morley Momentum said in a statement that the Morley town centre needed to be more community-friendly and attract more people.

“Morley needs a more vibrant town centre created through place-making initiatives like revitalisation of under-used public spaces, adding more green spaces, more public art works and community events,” the statement read.

“An innovative solution is needed to better connect The Morley town centre, particularly Coventry Village, the Progress Street Precinct, Galleria Shopping Centre and the Russell Street Precinct so that people can walk from one end of the Morley town centre to the other in a safe and enjoyable manner, without all the carparks.”

Future Bayswater chair Paul Shanahan said the new council needed to take the Metronet opportunity in the Bayswater town centre seriously by working with the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority.

Respect Bayswater’s Heritage Heart group spokeswoman Angie Maher said the group wanted the City’s Municipal Heritage Inventory was included in the MRA’s design plans for King William Street and Whatley Crescent “heritage core” area.

Bayswater Historical Society president Lynn Deering said councillors needed to learn more about historic stories in their wards and make better decisions.

Bayswater Collective member Kylie Elsegood-Smith said the group wanted to know how candidates intend to show leadership as communities undergo significant change in the next few years.

Candidates were sent requests to comment on the top three issues but some did not respond.

Here are the candidates’ responses:

North ward candidate Michelle Sutherland

Michelle Sutherland. Photo: Paul McGovern

– “A balancing act with the parking. Very difficult to please businesses and visitors. I am for more development around the new train station. I was supportive of the initial development by Yolk (Property Group) – King William Street needs development. Also I think the council should advocate the State Government for more parking.”

– “The council is working hard to make the town centres more vibrant – a balancing act with the demands for the council budget. Cutting red tape will go some way to improve the vibrancy and maybe more streamline planning. I think Coventry Village are doing a good job working with community groups to try and activate the area. The Morley town site is an important economic hub and would benefit from the Galleria redevelopment. Unfortunately that is on hold and it makes the area difficult to improve – I would have loved the train station at the Galleria that would have been a game changer. I think Hawaiian are helping improve the vibrancy of the Noranda town site… Noranda Vibes has a good working relationship with the shopping centre and are supportive of bringing more vibrancy to the town site. Bayswater is a work in progress due to the railway station. It is a lot more vibrant now than when I first got onto council – it will go from strength to strength.”

– “We have to have more pedestrian friendly roads especially around the major arterial routes. The new NorthLink WA (project) is a good start. I think more needs to be done around Walter Road. Work is going to start to make Benara Road more pedestrian friendly early next year. The City is aware that improving pedestrians and cycling pathways are a must.”

North ward candidate Jill Devaney

Jill Devaney.

-“I sold my car several years ago and I get around everywhere via bike, train or bus. I’m a big fan of our public transport system and I know that not everyone is happy but it works for me. I’m thrilled that Perth will be getting a long-overdue airport line and that the interchange will be Bayswater station. That will really put us on the map. I’m no expert on train station design but it looks good to me. We own a commercial property in the planning control area and were initially alarmed at the prospect of the area being taken out of the control of the City of Bayswater. However, we have been assured that this is for coordination purposes only and that the City’s structure plan will be followed. We hope that this will be the case and will be keeping a keen eye on developments and continuing to engage in discussions with our neighbours. Parking is clearly going to be a major issue. I wish we could get Perth people more engaged in active and public transport and less reliant on private car use. I understand from correspondence from our Transport Minister that public transport is currently subsidised by 70 per cent. What if we increased that to 100 per cent and made it free? Would we make up that loss by spending less on roads and parking? Public transport may be expensive, but private transport infrastructure is much more expensive and funding from registration and fuel excise does not nearly match spending. These are bigger picture issues and until the public can be persuaded to rely less on cars, I’m worried that train users will take up all the local parking and this will adversely affect local businesses. Our previous tenant vacated after ten years for this very reason. Unless parking for the train station is adequate, the local businesses will not benefit from the increased number in potential customers the train station will bring, and may actually lose existing clients.”

-“I think Bayswater is in a holding pattern until completion of the train station upgrade. However, when it nears completion, I hope businesses will prepare for a big boost in trade. One thing that would be great would be more places to have a meal. We toyed with the idea of developing our building into a restaurant, but were warned by friends in the business that because it is an old building with unusual access, the cost of complying with council regulations would be prohibitive. Bayswater town centre is a heritage area and making older buildings comply with modern laws can be difficult. I applaud King Somm’s owners for expertly managing this. However, if we want to see other buildings turned into eateries, council may need to address red tape issues.”

-“Efforts to make Noranda and Maylands’ town centres more vibrant are bearing fruit and people seem to be very upbeat about this. However, I am opposed to unnecessary restrictions being placed on local businesses and question the fairness of limiting Maylands’ new brew house’s opening hours to less than neighbouring licensed venues without even a trial. As a business owner, I know that economic times are tough and we need to support local businesses as much as we can as long as there are no adverse effects on local residents. Morley town centre is the real concern in the City of Bayswater. Morley is a great business hub. It seems that there is nothing you can’t find somewhere in Morley. The problem is access and connection. Once again, there are too many cars, not enough parking, and inadequate or unsafe pedestrian access. I love the bus transfer station but why is there no cover between it and the shopping centre? Last time I was there I bought an umbrella so I wouldn’t get wet on my way out! And bike access and safe bike parking is non-existent. Morley could easily be put on the cycling map with a bit of effort. The new Tonkin Highway shared path is amazing but it’s a long way from Morley. A loop could be made from the new Noranda station, through Morley and back to Bayswater. All kinds of cyclists would use it, from the early morning lycra-clad trainers who want to stop for coffee and muffins, to families who want to go for lunch and stroll through the shops. It’s just a thought, but as a diabetes educator, I’m always in favour of initiatives that get people active, especially when they could invigorate local businesses at the same time.”

-“I’m a commuting cyclist and an occupational therapist. I’m all about access and safety. In my opinion, none of the town centres are safe and accessible for cyclists and pedestrians. I would love to be part of a committee to investigate ways to improve this. All the money, goodwill and expertise in the world will not achieve a good result if you don’t include cyclists and pedestrians in the decision making. As urban infill increases, we need to get people out of cars and into active transport but they won’t make the change unless it’s safe. But where there is a will, there is a way.”

South ward candidate Catherine Ehrhardt

Catherine Ehrhardt.

 

– “I am proud of my role in initiating the place management program, resulting in the activation and beautification of Bayswater, Maylands, Morley and Noranda town centres. The place management program also resulted in the creation and support of our fantastic town team groups; the Baysie Rollers, Creative Maylands, The Morley Momentum and Noranda Vibes. I was elected on a platform of change. This initiative has resulted in one of the biggest changes to our district. Town centres and local businesses play an important role in bringing people together, providing a social and community focal point for people of all ages. I have been working with our community, our businesses and the City with this approach and setting out a positive vision for the future of our town centres and the interventions needed to achieve this.”

– “As a priority, we need to be developing well-designed places that are interconnected, cycle friendly and walkable.”

South ward candidate Robyn Walsh

 

-“Lots of State Government money is being spent on upgrading Metronet and the airport link will both join the Midland to Fremantle line at Bayswater. Currently due to most parking being removed at Bayswater, the train timetable for the entire Midland to Fremantle line has been changed. I question the amount of money being spent to upgrade when in fact many of us are already experiencing a reduction in services. Trains in peak times at Maylands used to be every seven and a half minutes and every second one was express. Now it is every 10 minutes and all are all stations; no express trains. No one begrudges upgrades to Meltham and Mt Lawley the increase to their services but why do others get down graded services. Statistics are that public transport usages is falling. I believe that there is a cultural issue with Transperth and that is they don’t know aren’t interested in users experiences. It is the lack of viable public transport options in Perth which mean we are still so reliant on cars. I often see the inconvenient truth or no parking and businesses failing due to a lack of patronage, how can both be true? Our town centres need to be hubs with public accessibility the priority. Well planned and services urban infill around public transport hubs is wonderful but it must have planning and ongoing community input.”

-“Both active and passive activation is wonderful, it must be supported by accessibility, including a common space with amenities, including seating, toilets and accessibility. I think the City of Bayswater is quite spoilt with public land and each centre needs designated facilities to provide this vibrancy. Successful centres around the world are destinations and businesses thrive because the people come and gather for that reason. Yes, Maylands is wonderful but there is so much more that needs to be done to make it a vibrant centre. The work in Noranda and the community accessible spaces of The Morley and Noranda Recreation Club and the work of Noranda Vibes is exciting.”

-“I hear there were three tourist busses in Maylands on a Tuesday morning, we need to have our finger on the pulse and know who and why they are here. Lonely Planet and Realestate.com have both noticed Maylands, why are we not providing services to these tourists and getting them to our beautiful places.”

Central ward candidate Chris Tan

Chris Tan

– “The council should upgrade the Bayswater train station until a new station for Morley or Noranda is built. Presently, residents of Morley and Noranda can only use either Bayswater, Meltham or Maylands train stations but the carparks are not enough. So if I am in the council, I would like to see if we can build more carparks for Bayswater and Maylands and charge reasonable and affordable fees for parking. Also, perhaps shuttle buses from Morley bus terminal to Bayswater, Meltham and Maylands train stations during peak hours.”

– “Morley has two very vibrant locations which can be turned into very vibrant town centres i.e., Galleria and Coventry Village. I will bring more life to these two centres by organising more events, festivals, celebrations, every ethnic community festival days and celebrations like New Year’s and cultural activities. The same can be done for Maylands, Noranda and Bayswater on the same scale.”

-“Pedestrian access to the town centres are quite adequate presently to Morley, Bayswater, Maylands and Noranda but there are improvements which can be added on and make them more accessible to pedestrians plus handicap access and for prams and others. We can create more bicycle access to the town centres as bicycles are now getting more popular nowadays. Besides bicycles, we also need to look at access for prams and motorised scooters. Presently, bicycle access not really adequate… (there are) not enough bicycle paths and access to Galleria and Coventry Village. We need to look at the same for Maylands and Bayswater. Hawaiian’s Noranda adequate bicycle access and parking.”

Central ward candidate Steven Ostaszewskyj

Steven Ostaszewskyj

– “Over recent years, the City of Bayswater has adopted a place management strategy with the aim of activating our town centres. The place managers have worked with local town teams and community groups and there has been significant improvement in the relationship between the City and those groups. This is evidenced by the many wonderful activation projects that have been delivered in our town centres. I believe the next step is to bring businesses completely into the fold. I would like to see one of the place manager roles converted into an economic development role. This will provide opportunities for the City to work directly with business in the same way the City has worked with community groups and town teams. This would be aligned with ideas about engaging businesses which were discussed at the launch of Phase 2 of the Town Team Movement. It will help facilitate the building of stronger relationships between local businesses, community groups, town teams and the City. All stakeholders need to be working together to bring vibrancy and economic opportunity to our area.”

 

Central ward candidate Josh Eveson

Josh Eveson.

-“The Bayswater station upgrade, coupled with the planning control area, is a huge opportunity for the City of Bayswater to work together with the MRA to realize the full benefit to Bayswater and its surrounding area. Unprecedented investment that will revitalise the otherwise struggling town centre and provide a catalyst for vibrancy and housing diversity. Parking in Bayswater town centre is more about supporting local business than public transport customer parking. With the significant change of a new station, it would make more sense to make any changes as part of the overall precinct plan, as opposed to changes in isolation. To proceed independently would be further waste of ratepayer’s money.”

-“Place-making activities and soft activation have been in place and we have seen improvement in our town centres thanks to the efforts of community groups and town teams. Specifically to Morley town centre, we need to restore focus on the Morley City Centre Masterplan (May 2010) with a number of considerably overdue deliverables focuss on increasing all aspects of the town centre making it greener, better connected and more pedestrian friendly. In the shorter term for all centres, the next proven step to increase vibrancy is to partner with local businesses to focus activities and investment to create sustainable economics. In other words bring all of the other often forgotten part of our community (local business) together as we continue to transform our town centres into places people want to be.”

-“Much like any system, connectivity to key locations is vital. Our pedestrian and cycle-way networks need to be overlayed with existing street design and built form to assist with smooth integration. Once done, then routes can be easily prioritized, forecast and budgeted accordingly. Engagement with relevant community groups and partners would is the final task before locking in and then focusing on high quality and speedy delivery. Better connection will unlock our town centres to the wider community.”

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