City focus on town centres

• David Doy’s job as Place Manager is to make Vincent’s various town centres a lot more exciting. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

• David Doy’s job as Place Manager is to make Vincent’s various town centres a lot more exciting. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

URBAN planner David Doy has been brought in by Vincent council to spruce up town centres.

A veteran of the Beaufort Street Network he has been taken on in the newly created role of “place manager” to work with groups like the Network, Leederville Connect, Mt Hawthorn Hub and the yet-to-be-named North Perth group.

In the broad-ranging role he’ll handle public art, place branding, help town groups create websites and social media, work with landlords to fill empty properties and work on events.

Mr Doy also aims to strengthen the town centre groups so they’ll still be able to represent their areas if mergers go ahead. He says the areas’ identities may be threatened in a bigger council if they don’t have strong locals standing up for them and making their aims clear.

A big challenge is getting solid structures into place for the groups: a lesson learned from the Beaufort Street Network is some volunteers worked too hard and ran out of steam trying to do everything.

Mr Doy wants to “set it up so you have enough people and it’s organised so everyone knows their role in the town centre group… so they don’t burn out”.

He’s also aiming to help the groups help themselves: recently on Beaufort Street “someone said ‘why hasn’t council cleaned the footpath?’”

He says “it’s clear the city doesn’t have the resources” to keep every footpath gleaming so business owners got together for a busy bee and took the job into their own Ansell-gloved hands.

Mr Doy says there’s good evidence of the effect place managers have around Australia, from work done on the once-trouble haunted Northbridge piazza and cultural centre, to the international fame of Melbourne’s Brunswick Street.

A second place manager will be brought in shortly.

by DAVID BELL

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