Victoria Park Life #vicparklife

Is a place full of mature trees and charming weatherboard workers' cottages with the baked orange-red of bricks. Where car yards are being redeveloped into apartments and commercial premises and a healthy mix of nationalities and socio-economic groups live together.

A place where the "Super-Cafe Strip" stretches a long way from the River to St James, alive and humming with its own unique energy. Where the local business owners offer fantastic service and a surreal "this is what shops used to be like" retail experience.

Where you can catch up for a meal, a beer or wine and wander home afterwards, past your friends' and neighbours' homes. With open space, parks, river foreshore and a healthy mix of nationalities and socio-economic groups.

Its charm is infectious, relax and enjoy #vicparklife

What's Happening

Our past is the motor trade and car yards but our future is infill. Car yards being redeveloped into apartments and commercial premises bringing more people, more vibrancy and making the promise of our cafe strip even more appealing and sustainable.

what is happening now:

The Villagers are Revolting...

I went to a community meeting on Tuesday night.  In John McMillan Park.  Under the flat white glare of the portable floodlights with 300 other pitchfork wielding villagers.The baying for bureaucrats blood was loud and carried clear in the warm summer night air. A minority were frenzied, frothing uncontrollably at the mouth.  Goading the mob on.The smoother than smooth radio voice of Mr Consultant slipped across the crowd.  Hypnotic. “We understand how you feel…”  Somnambulistic tones usually reserved for horse whispering.Officers of the Town attempted to explain, “the plan is dead”, “on ice”, “we could have consulted better”.Drowned by bronx cheers and cat calls.  There hadn’t been a public stoning in Vic Park for some time.  A ripple of expectation ran through the crowd.And now public questions… the soap box orators, the public nuisances burying the legitimate community concern in a wall of nasal invective and chest beating.  Fear and distrust permeate the air.  Remember Lathlain Oval? Remember the Paid Parking Fiasco?  The brave Officers of the Town flank the Mayor and Acting CEO, in their own private OK Corral moment.  And the Park.  Vested in the people. Caveat protected.  The howls of anguish “how can you sell our children’s future”  (and they paved paradise and put up a parking lot - thank you Joni Mitchell).So this is to be a night of pillory and humiliation. The Officers of the Town, bent double in submission before the crowd.   Just a few lone voices of reason cut through.  Voices for Billabong Childcare, the Arts Centre and other equally unsexy and overlooked community services. Necessary and vital, and yet almost voiceless.The mellifluous snake oil smooth tones “ have been extremely polite…” as the crowd turns on its heel and drifts away, spent.  The Mayor pumps hands and bequeaths bonhomie on those that will partake.Until all that is left is an empty park, the throb of the generator and the flat white light of the portable lighting.Derek Baston

Matters of the Heart

And so the community conversation starts for a new residential, commercial and civic heart for our town.I’ve fielded the emails and the phone calls. Social media has done its thing. Like a grass fire the flames have travelled through the collective conscience of Vic Park’s digital citizens.“…What do I think? Is it good for my street? How will the Town Centre affect property values? Should I sell my home now before the work starts? Should I wait until after completion to sell? How long will it take? What will the traffic be like? Will the trees be cut down? How much park and open space will remain? How high will the development be? What about the community facilities? Where will they be relocated to? Who’s paying for it?  Where are the new South Park Offices going to be? Will there be real consultation with the community?  Can we trust the numbers?…”They are just a snap-shot of the conversation starters around the Town Centre Redevelopment Project.For what its worth - I am, in principle, a supporter of this project.  The upheaval for certain community groups will be real. The inconvenience of facilities like the Leisure Life Centre being unavailable will be unavoidable. But….if we want a sustainable community with vibrant human spaces, not just a scattering of poorly spaced cafes, restaurants and retail premises strung like pearls along Albany Highway, which is on the whole, car focussed, not pedestrian focussed, then in-filling residential property and inserting a human orientated Town Centre is a fantastic answer.It’s a chance to redefine our Town and truly create a node of activity that is about people, community, civic and commercial space.My fears are those same sneaking suspicions when change comes, that we’ll lose something.  This deal done on our behalf by the officers of the Town, overseen by our elected members, will not fulfill on its promise.  That somehow the lack of consultation or transparent process that was evident with the ‘paid parking’ project will be repeated.The redeeming part of this process is that the Town of Victoria Park has partnered with LandCorp, a state government entity that is charged with delivering this project. LandCorp specialise in land, property and infrastructure projects that have a lasting and positive influence for Western Australians. A project like this is familiar territory. They have values and charters that are aligned with community outcomes.  And unlike Hawaiian Group (who own the Park Centre Shopping Centre) with whom the Town had a Memo of Understanding signed regarding the Town Centre Project some years ago, LandCorp are not strictly a commercial entity. A commercial entity by its very nature will always act in their own interests, which may compete with community outcomes.So LandCorp’s process and experience give me confidence that this project can be completed with successful outcomes for our community.  The Town of Victoria Park should be commended for initiating this partnership.Yes there will be upheaval and change but I believe that it is progressive and will have a positive ripple effect into the surrounding area both for property value and sheer amenity.  It is beholden upon our community, not just our elected members and the officers of the Town, to apply themselves to being aware and involved in this Town Centre Redevelopment Project. It will define who we are as a Town.  It will contain potentially, some of our most important civic spaces.So what can you do? Look at what is being proposed, and then let the Town of Victoria Park know what is precious to you during this community feedback period.  Do you passionately want to slow traffic along Kent Street, keep apartments low rise or retain the recreation centre?  Do you want to make sure the fig trees are retained as well as the TGIF markets?  What is missing in our town that can be integrated here?  Have a say now before the agreement with LandCorp is finalised.Derek Baston

The Strip

Vic Park is a village, albeit one with a very long main street. Albany Highway. This "Super-Cafe Strip" tells the story of our diversity, our past and the quickly arriving future. The people are friendly and the local businesses offer suprisingly good value.

  • African hairdressers
  • Motorcycle accessory stores
  • Op shops
  • Pubs
  • Photography studios
  • Barbers
  • Book stores
  • Burger bars
  • Boot makers
  • Fair trade shops
  • Food halls
  • Gelato cafes
  • 24 hour pizza shops
  • Curio shops
  • Lingerie shops
  • Gift shops
  • Lebanese restaurants
  • Chinese restaurants
  • Fine dining restaurants
  • Mexican restaurants
  • Vietnamese restaurants
  • Nepalese restaurants
  • Malay restaurants
  • Thai restaurants
  • Indian restaurants
  • Turkish restaurants
Cafe COunter

White picket fences and back yards with mulberry trees. Sure there are apartments and town houses and villas and everything in-between. But that is the Town of Victoria Park. It's got a bit of everything.

This is a place to live.

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