‘Neglected’ Mitchell fights back

Mitchell Traders Association committee member Julian Kusa, left, with president Anthony Manning … “We want Mitchell transformed and upgraded so it’s on par with other modern districts like Fyshwick or Belconnen,” says Anthony. Photo by Danielle Nohra

FOR a long time neglect has been festering in the minds of many Mitchell business owners, says Phoenix Gym owner Anthony Manning, and the light rail was the tipping point.

After discovering that the light rail not only doesn’t stop near Anthony’s gym, but completely bypasses the whole of Mitchell, Anthony had had enough.  

“I was frustrated with the traffic interruption, so I wrote about 300 letters to surrounding businesses and my staff went around handing them out,” he says.

Therma Quilts’ Julian Kusa saw the letter and, like Anthony, believes Mitchell has been neglected.

Together they formed the Mitchell Traders Association and, so far, have gathered 250 signatures to petition for one or two light rails stops in Mitchell.

But Anthony, the association’s president, says it goes further than the light rail.

“From the outset we made two goals,” he says.

“One is to promote Mitchell as a traders’ area and the other is to provide advocacy for the businesses.

“We want to change the image of Mitchell from a light industrial area to a trading area.

“People find stuff in Mitchell because they’re looking for it, not because they’re in the area.

“Mitchell is incredibly diverse and we want people to discover that.”

Anthony says the light rail has brought the Mitchell community together to advocate change.

“Having a stop on either side of Mitchell says: ‘You don’t need to go to Mitchell’,” Anthony says.

“A stop would absolutely change the dynamic of Mitchell. It will bring with it further facilities and infrastructure.

“Having the light rail will change the perception of everything.”

The Mitchell Traders Association’s first job will be to get a webpage running, then it plans on “transforming” Mitchell into something more appealing to consumers.

After 15 years in Mitchell, Anthony says he still argues to get pavements fixed and finds it hard to get a tree trimmed.

With more than 300 businesses and more than 4000 employees, Anthony questions why his rates money isn’t going into things such as fixing  pavements.

“I pay $30,000 in rates a year and it goes to other suburbs,” he says.

“That’s a major issue, as big as the light rail. But people were putting up with the light rail because they thought it might mean a stop and further infrastructure.

“We want Mitchell transformed and upgraded so it’s on par with other modern districts like Fyshwick or Belconnen.”

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