“A huge difference to the ‘livability'"

06 Jul 2016

The biggest change I noticed even in that short period of time was the actual shop frontage…doing the whole shop frontage and opening up some of the shops with some glass doors, things like that. That has made a huge impact, aside from the shade canopies and the gardening and the landscaping, just revamping that whole shopfront has had a big impact. Because the big issue in these towns is the ageing and old infrastructure, they look tired, they're old and built in the '60s and '70s and really just need a facelift. So I think that, along with the provision of shade structures and shelter for when we get the big downpours, even some of the accessibility to the area, so the car parks and bus bays and even the pedestrian walkways, just seem to operate better now and have a bit of a flow. So I think they're probably the bigger impacts. [It is important to] basically improve the ageing infrastructure and accessibility to the area and along with that comes the town beautification side of things, which is great from a tourism point of view. A lot of people come into Tom Price but are visiting Karijini or the areas around and 12 or 18 months ago before this all started, it did look pretty old and tired and didn't look very inviting as a town centre.

I think [it's important because] it's a bit of town pride and community spirit, that kind of stuff. If people know that money's being spent in their area and things are being upgraded, they're more likely to look after the area and have a better appreciation for it. Having said that, they've had issues with vandalism and things already... but hopefully having a nice area for families to meet and people to go and do their shopping makes a huge difference to the ‘livability’, of the town... The shade and the general space has lifted the whole area, just brightens it up, makes it pleasing to the eye as you walk past. Prior to this project, people would hang around and meet in the Shopping Centre, I guess, because it was the only air-conditioned place to meet. So by having the little water features and the better shade and things like that, people can hang around outside and grab their coffee or whatever and have a chat with friends as they pass through that area, so you do get a lot of traffic through there... I think the little playground area and those kinds of things, just give it something else in the town centre that people won't just rush in, grab their shopping and jump back in their car, they'll actually spend a bit of time in there.

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