COCKBURN council has delayed upgrades to Rockingham Road and the town centre for up to two more years until it can reach an agreement with Phoenix Shopping Centre.
The council wants to create more of a town centre around the shops by dropping the speed limit on Rockingham Road to 50kmh and narrowing it to one lane in each direction.
It hopes this will make the area more pedestrian and cyclist friendly, and it has also earmarked upgrading bus stops to encourage public transport use.
Cr Lyndsey Sweetman said the two-year period will allow the council to coordinate with local businesses from Lancaster to Phoenix roads.
“Allowing a two year period will give ample time for Phoenix Shopping Centre to develop its master plan,” she said.
Resident and former Spearwood Community Association president John Cunai said the planned upgrades didn’t incorporate enough community feedback.
“There are some good design concepts but the council need to take notice of the submissions from residents and business owners worried about restricted access,” he said.
“The decision to give the centre two years is somewhat generous considering the new shopping centre owners knew what the plans were and the objectives before they took it on.”
Mr Cunai’s close supporter Len Glamuzina said the plan shouldn’t be tailored to appease Phoenix shopping centre.
“It’s about Spearwood — not just the Phoenix shopping centre — the actual revitalisation of the area should be going ahead,” he said.
Mr Glamuzina said it’s time that Spearwood and the surrounding area was revitalised, after ratepayers contributed to the development of newer suburbs like Cockburn Central.
Mr Cunai and Glamuzina have been pushing the barrow for development of the precinct since 2007, and are pleased the upgrades are back on council’s radar.
“If we do it right the first time, it’s going to be a major transformation for future generations to enjoy,” Mr Cunai said.
by CHARLIE SMITH