Forgotten Spearwood

THEY’VE just lost Coles, the local bowling club’s been shunted to the next suburb and now the council has taken the first steps in moving out – Spearwood residents fear they’re becoming the forgotten suburb.

Long-time resident and tireless community worker Karen Vann says she’s considering hanging a “For Sale” sign outside her house.

“It’s just such a nice place in so many ways, but if nothing’s going to change I wouldn’t want to live here any more,” Ms Vann told the Herald.

“Just coming down to the shops at Phoenix: with so many vacant it doesn’t look good, and it doesn’t look like they’re getting any new shops.

Awful

“They don’t seem to fix things anymore, like the bollards which have been knocked over, there’s signs falling down – it’s awful.”

The vast majority of residents moaned about the state of the old Chicken Treat site on the corner of Rockingham Road.

The Phoenix Shopping Centre up the road is overdue for a make-over and the owners have been negotiating with the council over a masterplan to marry their redevelopment with the council’s road and footpath upgrades.

But the centre’s plans are way behind and it took a real hit last month when Coles left the centre. In 2017 the council had to reluctantly delay its own program by two years.

Antony Svilicich says the suburb has noticeably deteriorated in the last decade.

“I was at the 2007 visioning workshop with the council and 200-odd people turned up and gave their ideas, but 11 years later, nothing has happened.

“The crime is also getting worse – Spearwood has the second-highest crime rate after Hamilton Hill and that’s part of where the suburb is at.”

Aryo Stockes has a philosophical view of the crime, saying more people from low socio-economic backgrounds are being moved into the suburb and the crimes are a reflection of their circumstances.

But she says the state government needs to acknowledge the impact of this influx and move some support services into Spearwood, which could help kickstart a revival.

At its October meeting, Cockburn council voted to exchange a site it owns beside the Cockburn Central train station with another near the Arc sports centre so that it can move its headquarters there.

That frees up its Coleville Crescent site and the now-empty bowling club next door for a housing redevelopment, although the Chook understands there may still be a covenant over the property which would give the market gardeners that gifted the site to the council first option over it.

by STEVE GRANT

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