Millions of dollars will be poured into revamping Perth’s Yagan Square in a bid by the state government to revitalise the lifeless area.
The square, which cost $73m to build, was meant to be the heart and soul of Perth city but it failed to bring in visitors causing many vendors to close their doors for good.
Now officials are throwing $7m into free public events and venue funding to attract people and new business to the area.
Yagan Square bar and restaurant, The Shoe, is one of a handful of businesses to survive what appears to be a Yagan Square curse since its opening in March 2018.
“When [the events] are on, they give our business a really good boost,” The Shoe owner Paul Higgins says.
“These events might not be directly for us, but they definitely benefit us.”
Mr Higgins says he and his wife have seen many businesses come and go over the years, and COVID-19 has only made it more difficult for people to stay afloat.
“They just couldn’t see a future,” Mr Higgins said.
Liberal small business spokesman Steven Thomas said Yagan Square failed in the past because it was poorly designed and badly marketed, with pokey uninviting spaces.
“I’m optimistic that these funds will make an improvement,” Mr Thomas says.
Mr Thomas says that the new funding is a step in the right direction, but that the focus needs to be on bringing in new businesses and addressing the issue of anti-social behaviour in the area.
“Anti-social behaviour is a massive turn off for people, they wont go if they don’t feel safe,” says Mr Thomas.
The events will kick off this weekend with an interactive exhibit called ‘CANT’T CONTAIN MYSELF’, featuring two shipping containers set up as selfie museums for the public to use.
This event, along with others will be updated monthly and continue throughout autumn and winter.