Recently the City of Belmont called for public submissions on the rejuvenation of the Belvidere Shopping Precinct. We believe in excess of 150 submissions were received from residents.
This area has long needed attention. Residents using the area are often faced with anti-social behaviour, and many, particularly our older residents, don't feel safe going there.
One of the main reasons nothing has been done to date is the cost associated with underground power. According to the council, the estimated cost of this would be $1.8m. The State Government would make a contribution to this, along with local government and property owners.
Recently the State released a list of local government areas they were contributing to the cost of underground power to. Belmont was missing from that list. This significant cost should not be placed entirely on ratepayers which could potentially increase our rates, when WA is very well off financially (according to media statements by the Premier).
The council provided three options for the residents to make comment on. The most expensive one was around $9m, and included a 20km/h zone, one lane of traffic each direction, which would be shared by buses, cars, pushbikes and pedestrians.
One concern with this would be the potential for rat running traffic in Durban Street, which already faces additional traffic as a result of Stanton Road and Sydenham Street, which has Belmay Primary, could become the access roads for people needing to get to and from Hardey Road. Whilst something has to be done to curb speeding traffic through Belvidere St, one could ask if having one lane of slow moving traffic push traffic elsewhere.
If care is not taken, we may also end up with parking problems if there is a reduction of on street parking. At some point, the vacant block opposite the tavern may be redeveloped. If residential homes were build there, the land which is now used as overflow parking for residents, would change to private use by those occupants. Would residents in nearby streets want cars parking in front of their homes to access the shopping precinct?
We must also consider the future plans of the IGA and other properties along the strip. If ratepayer money is used now, would future reconstruction on the strip impact the work done now, and mean money has been wasted? Is ratepayer money being used to improve businesses as well infrastructure?
Until the power is underground, planting trees under power lines is a waste of time and money, as they will never grow to form part of our canopy. By Lisa Hollands.