BUSINESS owners, landlords, the local residents association and the Mt Lawley society have condemned Stirling council’s plans for a plaza in a Mt Lawley car park along Beaufort Street.
On Tuesday the group convened a war cabinet to fight the proposal, with Ian Cornell from major landholder Michael Johnson & Co saying their message was simple.
“Rescind the motion,” he said emphatically to cheers from the group, including real estate agents Stuart Irving and Peter Keenan, jeweller Eryk Matusik, Astor Theatre manager Mark Hammond, Inglewood Hotel owner Murray Cutbush, Mt Lawley Residents Association chair Con Berbatis, Mt Lawley Society president Paul Collins and Beaucott Buildings owner Charlie Salpietro.
‘Kick in the guts’
The motion, raised by councillor Susan Migdale earlier this year and ratified at the July 2 council meeting, endorsed a $300,000 plaza in the car park next to the Westpac Bank.
Although the plans are in the early stages and the council has promised to consult on the design, it is proposing to close nine bays in the car park and restrict access from Beaufort Street, with the entrance to be replaced with two bays.
But the group says the loss of any parking is a kick in the guts for local retailers.
“They did it without direct consultation with these people here,” Mr Berbatis said.
He said the group commissioned its own parking report by Cardno Engineering which found the Mt Lawley town centre was already at least 100 car bays short.
“That’s part of a series of errors made by council regarding restricting parking in this area,” Mr Berbatis said, referencing the sale of a strip of council land behind the Astor to the owners of the adjacent shops. It’s got 17 parking bays but is likely to be redeveloped.
Mr Irving said business owners were still fuming over the decision to sell the land, particularly as it was done behind closed doors and with poor consultation.
“What they did say when they were actually spoken to about this, they said ‘we put a for sale in the public notices section of The West’,” Mr Irving said.
“And that was only approving the contract they’d already signed,” Mr Collins added.
The group is also still smarting over the council’s three-month dabble with paid parking along Beaufort Street last year.
“We have not recovered since they put paid parking meters up both sides of the street,” Mr Cornell said.
“We have not got our clientele back and they should hang their heads in shame.”
Mr Collins said the society’s members were concerned Mt Lawley’s heritage buildings would start to suffer if the businesses in them were struggling.
by STEVE GRANT