Bright plan for Northbridge

NORTHBRIDGE could become WA’s Times Square, under plans being considered by the Perth City Council.

Councillors want to make the precinct brighter and are considering a sign policy for Northbridge.

Council recently approved an illuminated sign for the Aberdeen Hotel and the Re Store, situated on the fringes of Northbridge in West Perth, even though both signs broke its rules.

Councillor Lisa Scaffidi said high quality illuminated signs could lift a city.

“That area is very dark at night. This will help improve the safety of the area,” Mrs Scaffidi said.

“Perth has been dubbed the ‘City of Lights’.”

Councillor Judy McEvoy said the issue was not new.

“If anywhere needs brightening, Northbridge does,” she said.

Councillor Laurance Goodman said bright lights would help draw people to Northbridge.

“We need to do it carefully though,” Mr Goodman said.

“Brightening up Northbridge would have a hugely beneficial effect.

“People come into Northbridge looking for atmosphere and this will help that.

“People would come into Northbridge to see the signs and because it was bright.

“It could even help chase away some of the bad element.”

According to the Bureau of Tourism Research’s International Visitor Survey, Northbridge drew 249,500 international visitors in 1999, almost half of the 519,200 visitors to the Perth tourism region.

Northbridge Business and Community Association president Vincent Tan said anything that brightened Northbridge was welcome.

“Northbridge has become the forgotten wife of Perth,” Mr Tan said.

“We have to make a start somewhere. It’s not going to happen by magic.

“The WA Government has a duty to promote Northbridge prior to the sale of its land over the Northbridge Tunnel.

“You can’t have a Peppermint Grove within a Balga. You have to look at Northbridge as a whole.

“You always try and present a property well before you try and sell it.”

Mr Tan said the biggest problem facing Northbridge was public perception.

“We have to try and get rid of that negative perception,” he said.

“The police have been doing quite a good job of it but it’s more than a law and order issue.

“It’s to do with promoting the place.

“There’s a lot of doom and gloom along William Street for example. A lot of businesses closing down and a lot of business people with long faces.

“Northbridge is home to a lot of icons to Perth’s ethnic community.

“Plus there’s a huge amount of people who come there to be entertained.”

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