Piazza permanent

08. 847NEWS

• The Mary Street Piazza will be made permanent, upsetting local traders.

THE Mary Street Piazza will be made permanent, with an overwhelming majority supporting the Beaufort Street public open space.

But the Mary Street Bakery says the piazza is costing it “between $500 and $1000 per day” in lost trade and says it will have to close and “re-open as a night time restaurant” if the piazza remains.

A massive 87 per cent of 300 submissions were in favour of the permanent piazza plan, which aims to provide a place to sit, eat, play music or even do maternity yoga on a street usually considered a retail “ribbon” with no “heart”. The project has had more feedback than either the bike plan or the massive town planning scheme changes.

But Mary Street Bakery says we don’t knead it

But former Vincent councillor John Little says the piazza will kill local business by taking up already scant parking.

Better known as the long-time owner of Fibber McGee’s Irish pub in Leederville, Mr Little co-owns Mary Street Bakery with Paul Aron and Michael Forde, who also run El Publico.

“To lose nine car bays and the flow of traffic past our door in both directions will kill our business, a business that has helped breath[e] life to Beaufort Street day trade and a business that relies heavily on takeaway custom,” the trio told the council.

“We estimate we have lost between $500 and $1000 per day of the trial period to date.

“This is not a sob story but we have invested heavily in this business and only last month for the first time did the business turn a profit—this will not happen this month and there is no doubt in our mind that we will have to close the bakery, rebrand, and reopen as a night time restaurant (which the street does not need) if this piazza goes ahead”.

The trio says the problem isn’t lack of public space, but the lack of daytime trade, and “you do not achieve a vibrant street by creating spaces where people can sit if there is no daytime business operating in the area to bring the people there in the first place”.

Mayor John Carey says he doesn’t accept the traders’ argument.

“That is complete nonsense. You create spaces that actually activate town centres and encourage people to visit and stay. It’s not competing against his business, it’s actually going to add to it. It’s creating a public space where there’ll be an onflow from the cafes.”

Mr Little is no fan of the current Vincent council after it decided not to renew the contract of former CEO John Giorgi, whom he’d worked with as a councillor during the mayoralty of Nick Catania.

by DAVID BELL

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