By Breanna Inferrera
BUSINESS owners in the heart of Kalamunda have shared their concerns about the City of Kalamunda’s plans to transform the current Central Mall into ‘Central Lane’.
As reported in Capital works splits council as budget adopted (Echo News, July 3), at a special council meeting on June 30, council resolved to commit $2.4 million this financial year to commence the Central Mall Streetscape Construction project.
At the meeting, City development services director Peter Varelis said the project was a key feature and noteworthy initiative outlined within the Kalamunda Activity Centre Landscape Master Plan.
“The idea of opening Central Mall to one-way traffic was posed as part of the [plan],” he said.
“Mixed views and opinions were put forward by the community.
“From an urban design and activity centre planning perspective, Central Mall in its current format doesn’t have the right recipe for a mall style environment.
“Other than on market days, it’s got low pedestrian numbers walking through it and the businesses don’t have the same sort of exposure to the foot traffic in other successful malls.
“The ingredients are simply not there.”
Allure Interiors owner Lisa Beeby and Lotsa Books Collectables and Curios owner Jan Fletcher say they, along with many other businesses along Central Mall, rely heavily on the Kalamunda Artisan Market which is held monthly.
Ms Fletcher said her biggest concern is how much inconvenience will be caused once the project is underway.
“If it’s going to become a street, how long will it take to do it, and will they close off the whole mall for the whole time it’s being done?” she said.
Ms Beeby said if the Kalamunda Artisan Market is gone for six months, the businesses along Central Mall will be in deep trouble.
“And the Sunday as well, because we get the foot traffic from the weekly farmer’s market,” she said.
Marketing Focus managing director Barry Urquhart said when consumer behaviour is disrupted, they do not come back in the numbers and do not spend in the volume they have done in the past.
“Any disruption is just going to be a compounding situation,” he said.
“When people go find and experience something they say, ‘hold on I haven’t been aware of that my goodness’ and they find it very hard to change back to what was.
“Convenience or access is the most important thing in the determination of where people buy.”
Ms Beeby said the City is starting a reference group.
“We have to do our utmost to work with the City and make them understand that livelihoods are at stake,” she said.
“We need to involve the people who are most important.
“The Kalamunda Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Kalamunda aren’t in this group, so Jan and I intend to represent them with their permission.”