Construction remanants in front of the hotel. Inset: Kevin Bartholomew with his wife, Rini, and his daughter Amelia. Pictures: Andrew Williams

Bar owner’s Metronet misery

The owner says he is in favour of the redevelopment projects, but wishes that government departments were more open with their communication.
March 14, 2024
Andrew Williams

THE owner of a bar steeped in Midland history says he has had enough of the lack of accountability after his business has been impacted by the construction of the new Midland train station.

Kevin Bartholomew, the proprietor of the Commerical Bar and Kitchen on Railway Parade and across the road from the new station site, said he is exhausted trying to communicate with the developers of the Metronet project.

“They need to do better. No one is against the project, we are all for the project, but don’t bulldoze everyone who is next to it in the process,” he said.

Since work began in the middle of last year, Mr Bartholomew has been in constant communication with the myriad government bodies and organisations in charge of the development.

For months, Mr Bartholomew has been in contact with the Public Transport Authority, Metronet, City of Swan, Midland MLA Michelle Roberts, Midland Junction Alliance and DevelopmentWA in order to find a single point of contact who will liaise between these organisations to advocate on behalf of those who are impacted by the development.

“We no longer have anyone to go to. DevelopmentWA don’t answer anything, they don’t help. That’s why I went to Michelle Roberts, who was no help,” he said.

“This is almost a year down the track and the penny dropped a few months ago that there is no one to go to,” he said.

Echo News contacted Michelle Roberts for comment, and she said she has met with Mr Bartholomew a number of times and has raised his concerns through the Transport Minister’s office.

“He has done a magnificent job restoring the hotel, it’s regrettable that the new Midland station works are disrupting his business,” Mrs Roberts said.

Mr Bartholomew said issues include power outages, damaged footpaths and curbs, miscommunication about Railway Parade closures, loss of parking due to the development, private parking being used and blocked by contractors, loss of an entire row of streetlights, and traffic cones and signs left strewn across the road for days.

Although these issues seem like small inconveniences, it’s the quantity and effort by Mr Bartholomew and other residents and small businesses in order to resolve them that he points to as the main issue.

Mr Bartholomew said one issue was Railway Parade appeared closed on Google Maps for almost five weeks before it was updated, which he attributed to his persistence.

He said the work being done isn’t being remediated afterwards by the workers and then it’s not being audited by higher ups, leaving it up to those affected to complain.

“It’s up to the people who live here to put in several complaints and make an annoyance of themselves, and the stress and time that goes along with this to get things fixed.

“It’s a real drain on your resources and mental health. It’s exhausting,” he said.

“Their main focus is the project, I get that, but there also needs to be consideration for the locals, and the impact these projects have on residents and businesses.

“We don’t want another Bayswater in Midland, the precinct down there has been an absolute disaster.

“I went down to talk to some of the business owners down there and it was heart wrenching to talk to them about their experience with a Metronet project,” Mr Bartholomew said.

The Public Transport Authority, Metronet, Midland Junction Alliance, Development WA and the City of Swan were contacted for comment.

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