Where are we going?

Perth 1969.

I was thinking today about all the businesses around here that have gone, vanished, since I moved into the area. I’ve lived at my address in Trigg for nearly 23 years now and I’ve seen a lot of changes. When I think about it, they’re virtually all for the worse.

I needed to buy some light globes today, 60W reflector types or similar, nothing special. In 1986, when I arrived here, I would have had the choice of a walk to a supermarket and a hardware store, just 500m up the street from my place, a supermarket at North Beach 1.5Km away, or a choice of two other supermarkets, a hardware store and two department stores at Karrinyup Shopping Centre 1.6Km away.

Today, I would have had to go to Karrinyup for a choice of one supermarket (Woolies) and one department store (BigW), and that’s it. I suppose I can’t blame the supermarket at North Beach for not being there for me, since they still haven’t re-opened after a fire three months ago, but it set me thinking about what we’ve lost in the last 20 years or so. These are the things we’ve lost:

Three service stations, Caltex Trigg, Ampol North Beach and Mobil Karrinyup;
Two taverns (Karrinyup Tavern and the Flora Terrace hotel);
Two supermarkets – Macs at Karrinyup and Macs/Foodland in Trigg (independently owned);
A doctor’s surgery (North Beach);
Two delicatessens (Trigg and North Beach)
Two video libraries (North Beach and Karrinyup)
One bank (Westpac North Beach);
One newsagent (Trigg);
Two greengrocers (Trigg and Karrinyup);
One bookshop (Karrinyup);
One CD/DVD shop (Karrinyup);
Three hardware shops (Trigg, + two at Karrinyup);
One children’s playground (didn’t meet standards, so removed!)

They’re all gone. All that’s left is Karrinyup Shopping Ctr with one supermarket and one greengrocer and North Beach Plaza with the same, except that the supermarket has been closed for 3 months and we wonder if it will ever reopen.

What have we gained?

An expanded and much improved post office (North Beach, franchised);
An ATM, but it’s a Redicard type which attracts charges;
Two nice, but expensive, beachfront cafes;
An improved walkway along West Coast Drive.

I can’t think of anything else. I’ll be happy to be corrected.

This is very disheartening. There is no hotel or tavern anywhere on the coast between Scarborough and Sorrento Quays, 8Km apart. No full service hardware stores apart from the all-pervasive Bunnings are left except one in Scarborough Beach Road, which I deliberately patronise whenever possible, but it’s a 5Km drive. I have to drive everywhere now.

Until three years ago, there was a small shopping centre 500m up the road with a service station, supermarket, good deli, greengrocer, fish & chip shop, hairdresser, chemist, hardware shop, newsagent, dress shop and St Vinnies. It was bulldozed and turned into a mass of identical townhouses. The fish & chips, chemist and hairdresser are housed in the complex, but that’s it.

This is a clear trend. The Coles/Woolworths duopoly is now dominant except for IGA. Twenty years ago there were at least four other grocery chains; full service petrol stations; full service delis; hotels where you could have a quiet drink and a reasonable meal; local banks; local video libraries…

This is a beachside suburb with a median price of around $1m, but we have to drive elsewhere to get anything. What’s going on? It seems to be a chicken and egg situation – people go elsewhere because there’s nothing here, so no-one can afford to risk setting up here because people shop elsewhere. Is that it? I’m not sure.

Comments, please. PC

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