Great plan – let’s get on with it

MORLEY is sad and hurting, but how to turn it around? 

In this week’s Speakers’ Corner resident JOSH EVESON takes a look at Bayswater council’s upcoming Morley Activity Centre Streetscape Plan. Councillors vote on whether to endorse it on July 27. 

FIRSTLY, I’d like to thank the team that has got the Morley Streetscape Plan to this point, not only the officer’s and more recent councillors – but all of the feedback participants along the way – land owners, local businesses and community for ongoing contributions since 2010.

We are finally at the point of funding detailed design of the Morley Streetscape Plan – this truly has been a team effort.

2010 you might say? Yes, the objective to develop a plan to enhance the public realm in Morley Town Centre was identified in the Hames-Sharley Morley City Centre Masterplan of 2010.

A quick crumb from that plan – developing the Morley Streetscape Plan is short-term 0-5 year implementation objective #6 (on page 66). With other related objectives #15, 22, 23, 35 and 38 also focussed on streetscapes. So yes, this idea has been around for some time. 

Prompt delivery

Given this, I fully support the officer’s recommendation to support implementation of detailed design and wholeheartedly encourage prompt delivery of final funding and project scope options to Council. Funding option 3 (also officer recommended) gets my tick as well due to objective crossover for Morley TC and streetscape improvements.

The suggested tender process gives full optionality on the sequence and priority of delivering the detailed design – this is vital. Well done again officers.

Providing flexibility, as some areas require more urgent assistance than others, whilst a strategic approach needs to be maintained and link it altogether. The best way to get maximum impact as quickly as possible.

Businesses are struggling. It’s not just because of Covid – that’s a more recent development. Morley Town Centre looks shabby and unkept. An area screaming for attention, while other strategic centres across Perth see focus, large scale refurbishments and investment.

Morley needs to restore the pride of yesteryear, clearly seen in imagery from groups like “Ol School Morley”. Things like the shiny new Boans department store, the thrill of live music and big name bands at The Generator, getting dressed all fancy to have a meal at the Coolabah Tavern, the drive in, the Morley Fair – there were a lot of reasons to go to Morley back then.

I’m not talking about looking back, it’s about understanding the past and providing a clear vision forward, to the Future Morley.

Local businesses and private investment are doing their best, but it is time the city contributed; and gets down to the business of really helping local business.

Help bring people into Morley town centre. And when they are here help them to feel safe, keep the streets clean and tidy, offer alfresco dining, activated frontages. Create a buzz, a vibe, a real sense of belonging and community. People will reward the effort. They will spend their money, enjoying the many small businesses that Morley still has to offer – whether it’s restaurants, entertainment or other services. Morley needs clear direction. A clear vision. And investment to start delivering it – NOW.

Fully funded

Fully funding the detailed design is a must, as is physically delivering an updated streetscape.

But I urge council there is a lot to do for Morley, activated frontages will deliver the best outcome.

Talk to any business owner – and I have. They will tell you. Enhancing the customer experience will deliver more business. Linking it together is also not to be overlooked. Businesses working together creates the destination.

An example – Simon Says, Little Viet, King Hot Pot and Bobaboba to name a few – they’d all benefit from activated frontages. Alfresco dining, a comfortable outdoor space. Improved pedestrian access, inclusive pathways that sort of thing. This is what the businesses are asking for so do the checks and balances – and get on with it.

Council needs to support those that have invested their time and money in trying to keep Morley alive. A vibrant town centre improves the quality of life for community that surrounds them.

It’s just better for everyone.

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