Subiaco: Rokeby Road businesses feeling more pain as roadworks take their toll


Michael Cutler and Eric Chu are concerned about the impact of roadworks.
Picture: Lisa Thomas
Michael Cutler and Eric Chu are concerned about the impact of roadworks. Picture: Lisa Thomas

SUBIACO business owner Michael Cutler may temporarily close his small bar, fearing roadworks on Rokeby Road and Hay Street could be another nail in the coffin for the suburb.

Mr Cutler said he did not want to follow several businesses on Rokeby Road that had closed permanently because of a loss of income caused by the Water Corporation and ATCO Gas roadworks.

“I’m highly concerned it will impact Pure Bar,” he said.

“I have been told by other business owners that they are 70 per cent down on takings due to the road works.

“We are on the outskirts of Subiaco, so we already don’t get the passing trade that Rokeby gets. There probably won’t be a trade during the day when the Hay Street works start.”

Another Subiaco business, Purl Bar, went into voluntary administration earlier this month.

Eric Chu, who owns Edo Japanese BBQ and Fee Fi Pho Fum Vietnamese Kitchen and Noodle Bar, said he had made a loss of six figures because of road closures on Rokeby Road.

After opening Fee Fi Pho Fum in January, he had already had to refinance the business because of a loss of foot traffic.

“My night trade is gone,” he said. “I used to have 30 to 50 people per night before the roadworks,” he said.

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“We opened Fee Fi Pho Fum in January, if I’d known this was going to happen I would have opened later in the year and changed my marketing strategy.”

The roadworks were only hurting Subiaco further and the council needed to step in and help, he added.

“I’ve got empty shops either side of me. It’s not a good look,” he said.

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“I’ve been in Subiaco for 10 years and I still have faith. There’s so much potential, but I’ve been waiting so long and nothing is happening.”

Subiaco chief executive Don Burnett said the City was working with local businesses to mitigate the impact of the works.

“It’s disappointing when businesses close but the future of Subiaco town centre is bright, with new businesses successfully opening recently and a number scheduled to open in coming weeks,” he said. “We’ve taken steps to minimise the impact of the works by installing signage to direct people to alternative parking, highlight pedestrian access and inform visitors that Subiaco is open for business.”

Mr Cutler said he believed business affected by the road closures should be compensated.

“Compensation for costs and damages need to be upfront and not after the fact,” he said.

Water Corporation Perth regional manager Garth Walter said the corporation was working with the City of Subiaco and ATCO Gas Australia to upgrade water mains on Rokeby Road and Hay Street.

He said compensation would be decided on a case-by-case basis.

“Whilst this was a critical project to provide essential services to Rokeby Road businesses, we understand the road closures can have an impact on business and we can engage an independent loss adjuster to discuss this impact on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

“This is a long standing practice of Water Corporation, and is an option available to any business owner located near a site, where we carry out this kind of essential infrastructure work.”