An election commitment of $250,000 to re-open Jull Street Mall was knocked back by the City of Armadale.
The City of Armadale said it knocked back the offer on the basis that the offer was conditional and the mall was ‘a complex decision.’
Jull Street Mall has been a contested issue for two years, with the council finally deciding to put the project to community consultation on March 8.
Member for Armadale, Tony Buti offered a significant financial contribution in February to open the mall into a road as part of his election commitments to Armadale.
“Every Labor candidate receives election funding for their community, I’ve previously allocated that funding to schools and sporting clubs,” Dr Buti said.
“I offered part of my local commitment funding to the council, hoping it would help them make a decision to open it up.”
“I rang them first to see if they had anything they wanted funding for and they were talking about a pump track for bikes. I looked into that and it didn’t seem to work out in the end.”
“So I asked them if they would consider funding for Jull Street Mall.”
City of Armadale CEO Joanne Abbiss said the offer was conditional, shaping their decision to reject the offer.
“The funds would only be provided if council decided to re-open the Mall, not for any other works and that decision needed to be made by March 5, 2021,” she said.
“It simply was not possible to meet that deadline, prepare a detailed report and provide councillors the time to properly debate the complex issues and expert advice the city had received.”
Dr Tony Buti said he initially approached the City of Armadale on February 11, asking for an answer the following week.
“I followed up the next week and the city said they couldn’t make a decision in time, so I gave them an extension to March 5,” Dr Buti said.
In a report released by the City of Armadale, a hired consultant from Roberts Day advised in May last year that opening the Mall performs comparatively better than business as usual, or soft infrastructure.
“Option one (re-opening) performs comparatively better than options one (no change) and two (soft infrastructure), mostly due to incremental improvements in the macro criteria,” the report said.
“However, these improvements are considered insufficient to ensure a mall or street would perform optimally.”
Ms Abbiss said an expert advisor told the city that there would only be a ‘marginal improvement’ if the Mall was re-opened.
“On March 8 council determined that it would uphold the city’s adopted policy on community engagement and seek public comment before making a final decision,” she said.
“The ratepayers of the city will be asked to consider the options and give feedback on whether the city should spend between $1.4m to $2m to put a one or two way road through, or should the city retain the Mall and its trees as a civic and pedestrian space.”
Dr Buti said he wants what’s best for Armadale, and he hoped the money would encourage the city to make a decision.
“The issue of Jull Street Mall has been dragged on and businesses have been crying out for assistance,” he said.
“I was hoping this would help the City of Armadale to come to a decision.”