Markets on Rokeby unrest increases

FOURTEEN Rokeby Road business owners met last Tuesday to discuss how the Markets on Rokeby two-day road closure had damaged their trade, says Bistro Felix director Tony Cariss.

Mr Cariss said market manager Venn Property Group (VPG) and the City of Subiaco needed to urgently review the layout, traffic management and operating hours of the weekend market.

He said even more people were expected to attend a second meeting at his restaurant today.

Western Suburbs Business Association president Mark Hann warned the business community not to “jump on the negative bandwagon” before giving Markets on Rokeby time to prove itself.

“The markets are only in their third week,” Mr Hann said.

“If the large majority of businesses are unhappy, then yes, changes should be made. However, overriding everything should be taking on this genuine attempt to bring people to the town centre.”

VPG director Hadley Missell said the complexion of the street and market would change over time.

“We have had dialogue with the council, councillors, chief executive and mayor since the market started,” Ms Missell said.

“These discussions are always positive on how we can improve the markets and work with the retailers and stallholders.

“We are introducing new fresh food with limited hours and a WA designer fashion offer. We are also looking at introducing new timings for the market.”

Karma Indian Restaurant co-owner Gayagri Sharma said the road closure had injured her usually busy weekend dinner service.

“People don’t know we are open, so nobody comes,” Ms Sharma said.

“On Saturday, we had two tables of four people, and usually we get 10-15 tables.

“They take a long time for them to pack up the tents and signs; Rokeby Road did not reopen until 7pm on Sunday.”

Subiaco chief executive Don Burnett said City staff had informally met with several business owners over the past week about the markets.

“Everyone is of the same opinion: we want the markets to be successful,” Mr Burnett said.

“There are still some issues that need finetuning and the City and Venn Property Group are working through them.”