Swan Chamber of Commerce idea for Midland Railway Workshops precinct bears fruit

Gerry Hanssen outside Midland Railway Workshops. Picture: David Baylis  d458399
Gerry Hanssen outside Midland Railway Workshops. Picture: David Baylis  d458399

The Swan Chamber of Commerce has suggested the area between apartments, which are still being completed, would make a wonderful daily market for people to buy fresh produce direct from growers in the Swan Valley, Pickering Brook, Carmel, Chittering, Bickley and Mundaring areas.

Chamber president Gerry Hanssen said the suggestion had been taken to the City of Swan and councillors were hoping to discuss it at an upcoming meeting.

“Crucial to the success of the marketplace would be to make the rent affordable to these small local producers to encourage diversity and higher numbers,” he said.

MORE: Midland Railway precinct proposal picks up steam

City of Swan chief executive Mike Foley said the Midland Railway Workshops came under the control of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) so any approvals for the market would need to be considered by that body.

“However, the City supports all new industry in the region and would welcome the market as a new opportunity for growers and for residents wanting to access grower-direct produce,” he said.

“The City provides information and support for new and existing businesses, which can be accessed (at the City of Swan website).”

Planning Minister Donna Faragher said expressions of interest would be sought for markets and other activities to be set up in the space at the Midland Railway Workshops.

“Midland’s renaissance continues with the appointment of a works contractor and a public artist for the workshops precinct,” Mrs Faragher said.

“We are inviting commercial operators to contact us with ideas for the space.”

Subject to planning laws and conditions, both the MRA and the minister conceded it would be possible to house a market in the Midland Railway Workshops space.

“Ultimately, the flow-on effect will not only be realised by these small producers and their respective regions but the wider business community,” Mr Hanssen said.

The Swan Chamber was concerned that in tough economic times, the organisation needed to be proactive in supporting small growers and small business locally.

“In Italy and Spain, there are large community markets that are housed in old industrial buildings, thriving with vendors providing goods and products from their region to locals as well as to the international visitors,” Mr Hanssen said.

Mr Hanssen said organisations like the Chamber, City of Swan, local government authorities and all political parties needed to unite and provide avenues for initiatives that will allow growth to these businesses.