THE Mitchell Traders Association public campaign for a tram stop on Flemington Road has caught the imagination of the Opposition with Liberal small business spokesman Andrew Wall calling on the ACT government to build the stop and investigate what compensation can be offered to businesses severely impacted by the construction of light rail.
Mr Wall has moved that the Assembly will tomorrow debate Mitchell’s issues.
His motion calls on the government to note the important contribution that businesses in Mitchell make to the ACT economy and the “considerable amount of revenue collected by Government from Mitchell traders through rates, payroll tax and other fees and charges”.
Beyond building the tram stop and exploring the possibility of compensation, he is also calling on the government to construct additional all-day car parking in Mitchell (especially for workers on the eastern side of Mitchell); detail how Mitchell will be serviced by buses following the operation of light rail; include Mitchell on a regular schedule for street sweeping; improve the urban services delivered in Mitchell, such as footpath and streetlight maintenance; and undertake consultation with businesses in Mitchell about implementing urgent minor capital works in the public realm.
Mitchell Traders president Anthony Manning says the light rail issue 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.”
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.”