Business leader backs City hub plan

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry interim caretaker chief executive Michael Clark.
Camera IconAlbany Chamber of Commerce and Industry interim caretaker chief executive Michael Clark. Credit: Albany Advertiser

A proposal to move local government services back into the centre of town has received a thumbs-up from the Albany Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive.

Michael Clark said the proposal, part of the City’s attempt to secure the $18 million Bushfire Centre of Excellence, would “pump up” the CBD.

“I think (applying for) the Bushfire Centre of Excellence is a great move,” he said.

“(It would) bring a lot more people back into the CBD.

“People will need to buy lunches and go for a beer after work.”

The City’s proposal, revealed last week, is to sell its $5.7 million administration centre on North Road to the State Government, which would be used for the BCoE.

City employees would then relocate to the CBD, occupying unused buildings.

Proposed sites include the Commonwealth Bank building, empty shops and even parts of the Premier Hotel.

Online, some Albany Advertiser readers expressed concern about how such a move could impact on parking and traffic.

Mr Clark acknowledged that concern and said one answer was a shuttle service to relay employees into town from Centennial Oval.

“I think that’d be a great opportunity to get that cranking, so extra staff members working in the CBD don’t have to bring their cars in,” he said.

Mayor Dennis Wellington, who hopes this proposal will set Albany apart from the competition, said securing the hub would be a major achievement.

“(It’s) only a thought bubble at the moment because we need to win the flamin’ thing but it’s the only chance we have,” he said.

Mr Wellington said technology improvements meant offices no longer needed to be clustered together in one building, making it possible to spread services across the CBD.

A short list of suitable land and buildings includes sites at the top of York Street and the carpark behind the library.

The town hall, which was used on fewer than 50 days in 2018, could also receive a second wind in the mix-up as the venue for council meetings and city functions.

Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan said the centre’s location would be announced soon.

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