Mall’s million-dollar makeover

Mall’s million-dollar makeover

New strings of lights will replace the current maroon light posts, and there’ll me more greenery added to the understory of the plane trees. Photograph – Richard Polden.

What’s to be done with the Jull Street Mall?

It’s a question that’s been chewed over for decades.

The mall’s problems are obvious and so well-documented since its 1992 debut that they don’t warrant repetition here.

And yet despite the passion this particular topic stirs – or perhaps because of it – the only substantive thing that’s been produced in this space for years has been hot air.

But from April all of that is about to change.

The Jull Street Mall precinct is in line for a million-dollar makeover.

The majority of the $1.05 million funding is coming from the federal government’s Phase 3 Local Roads and Community Infrastructure stimulus program. The City of Armadale is fronting the rest.

The CoA is hopeful the mall’s lighting and landscaping upgrade, in partnership with the new elevated rail station which will begin to materialise in a few months’ time, and its surrounding ‘public realm’ upgrades, will breathe life back into the Armadale CBD and help buff its tarnished reputation.

“Together, all of these investments will raise the profile of the mall and the Armadale City Centre as a Strategic Metropolitan Centre,” Mayor Ruth Butterfield said.

So, in an age marred by ubiquitous rising costs, what does a million dollars get us?

There are three key areas of improvement: lighting, street furniture, and ground level gardens.

Concept plan for the Jull Street Mall upgrades.

The existing standing light poles will be replaced by ‘multi-function poles and suspended catenary lighting’. Under-bench lighting will also be installed with the new furniture, and the existing up-lights which illuminate the plane trees throughout the mall will be repaired, all in the name of creating a ‘warmer ambience’ through the space that many fear to tread come nightfall.

The city has said there’ll be a range of seating options installed, including hexagonal tree seats, benches and single ‘pod’ seats.

There’ll also be new bike racks installed.

New understory plants will be incorporated into gardens that follow the path of the existing plane trees to ‘anchor’ the new street seating and “soften and cool the expansive paved spaces”.

The pavers that have gone a little skew-whiff around the base of the trees will also be re-levelled.

In December, the tender for the project was awarded to Horizon West Landscape Constructions, which has a proven track record at improving public open spaces, with completed high-spec landscaping projects all over Perth, including Dazzle Park in Bennett Springs, Capricorn Beach Foreshore in Yanchep, and Yaaka Park in Lakelands.

When asked what measures would be employed to protect the upgrades from vandalism, Mayor Butterfield said the design included ‘robust and low maintenance furniture’ that was easy to clean.

“This has been chosen with the known potential for vandalism in public areas,” she said.

“The city contracts a security company to patrol the area seven days a week, which assists in reducing vandalism, de-escalating antisocial behaviour and generally providing assistance to people passing by.

“The city also employs a street cleaning crew that pays particular attention to the mall area.”

Works are expected to start in late April to ‘minimise disruptions to the public’ and will continue through to the middle of the year, in line with the mandated deadline for the federal government funding.