Aboriginal culture tops summit ideas

AFTER months of preparation and three mini-meetings, the Perth City Summit organised by Perth Labor MP John Carey was packed out on Saturday.

The 350 delegates (there were more on a waiting list) voted on ideas to improve the city from a list of 35 that were brought up during precinct meetings in East Perth, West Perth and Northbridge/CBD, and from 1000 online survey responses.

The number one idea was to better emphasise Perth’s Indigenous culture and history.

Other top-rated ideas were to establish Perth as the “canopy city” with a tree-planting program to encourage more walking and protect pedestrians from the searing sun, and to create a new group called “Renew Perth” to fill vacant properties with pop up businesses and events.

Another of the ideas floated was to have a “night mayor,” an idea that came out of Amsterdam to have a position in charge of livening up the city’s nightlife and bridge the gap between entertainment providers and club owners and the suits at city hall.

“The summit has proved that there is incredible interest, energy and desire to change in our city, and make it more vibrant and liveable,” Mr Carey said.

“Obviously state and local governments have a role to deliver some of these outcomes but it is up to the local communities, residents, business owners and property owners, to take ownership of the recommendations and make them happen in their own areas.”

Another outcome of the lead up to the summit was that two new precinct groups have been established—West Perth Local and Northbridge Common—to get residents and businesses together at the grassroots level.

It’s a model that’s worked well at Vincent council, with groups like Leederville Connect and Beaufort Street Network organising festivals and events in their areas and organising to lobby councils and government.

Perth council’s recent Share to Shape community engagement got 1945 participants, with 1689 being online surveys. Of the 256 face-to-face engagements spread across 14 events, 61 were council staff. CEO Martin Mileham won’t say how much was spent on the campaign with his media staff saying it was mentioned “at a council meeting recently”.

by DAVID BELL

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