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READER RESPONSE

Embrace the vision

I COULD not agree more with your comparisons concerning the relative vitality of Perth and Melbourne (WA Business News March 18).

There is no convincing reason why deregulation of liquor licensing and retail hours in WA should not be embraced as a matter of urgency and common sense, both to face up to the realities and demands of a growing tourist industry and, more importantly, as a matter of simple justice to the State’s citizens.

It is intolerable that the large majority of citizens should be held to ransom by small numbers of retailers from another age, representing only their narrow, vested interests.

It seems to me that it all has to do with vision – what sort of a city do we wish to create and live in? It is the theme of your editorial.

Of course, answers will vary widely, but if we are serious about holding on to our young people, and benefiting as well from the growing tourist trade (just two of the issues taken up in your editorial) then imagination and enthusiasm ought to characterise what we plan and do.

Young people – surely a city’s most precious resource – will not wish to live in a city dominated by tired, inflexible and strictly traditional notions of what our cities and towns should look and feel like. Tourists will be less than impressed that they cannot enjoy here the pastimes and pleasures they take for granted in other, more enlightened, cities.

So, in that context, I question the over-cautious, timid and equivocal ‘official’ attitude of the business community to the Perth-Mandurah railway – one of the most visionary and courageous projects ever undertaken by any government in the State’s history.

In its narrow obsession with the bottom line the business community seems unable to envisage the truly astounding renewal and benefits to the CBD (for a start) that will flow from two underground stations under its heart, and from a truly rapid-transit system that will enable 500,000-plus people close to the north-south railway to visit the CBD easily and frequently.

The sort of imagination and flair you are rightly encouraging for the city and State need to be encouraged consistently and across the board, and need to be big enough to encompass huge renewal projects like the proposed railway.

If the business community is too small-minded and fixated on short-term profit to welcome such a project, then I don’t have much confidence for our city as a growing centre of commerce. The ‘hesitant silence’ of the business community up until now reflects that very lack of vision you rightly decry.

May I suggest, then, that your journal drop the provocative and alarmist adjective “controversial” when writing of this project – it appears twice in four lines on Page 2. May I suggest instead – ‘visionary’, ‘enlightened’, ‘far-seeing’, ‘courageous’, ‘imaginative’ and ‘progressive’ … for a start.

Let’s get behind what is arguably the most exciting and potentially life-giving project in the city’s history – or it may well be hijacked by opportunist politicians and the gloomy prophets of doom who seem particularly vocal in our city.

 If the business community can truly embrace the sort of imaginative and courageous ideas which have inspired this project – ideas that will transform tired and boring streets into vibrant, renewed cityscapes – it might even save the project from the dinosaurs who do indeed seriously threaten it.

Michael Leek

North Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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