View Comments
Locals fear losing their city village
Locals fear losing their city village

You can't get more Mt Lawley than Adam McWilliams.

The long-time local works at the bottle-o on the corner of Beaufort and Walcott streets, lives in the apartment above and wants someone to end the assault on his "village" by greedy landlords and petty criminals.

Then there's the topic du jour, traffic congestion, turning a walk across Beaufort Street into a death-defying dash courtesy of frustrated motorists running red lights.

"There are always shoplifters in here," Mr McWilliams said as he stocked shelves at the Liquor Barons store.

"Graffiti p….s me off to the max, there are deroes that hang out at the nearby parks always asking for money and cigarettes so families don't go there any more."

Mr McWilliams, who has lived in Mt Lawley for all of his 56 years, speaks fondly of his home but says sharp rises in rents along the iconic inner-city strip are threatening its future.

"In the last five or so weeks alone we have lost five or six good local businesses, with more to come, all because of the greed of landlords," he said.

"To me, Mt Lawley is a village and should be maintained as a village."

The men vying to represent Mt Lawley after March 9 - Liberal incumbent Michael Sutherland and Labor comeback aspirant Bob Kucera - both claim to have a sharp local focus on the grassroots issues.

Mr Sutherland and his opponent retain close links with the Jewish population in the electorate, which contains 2000 of the State's 7500 Jews.

Mr Kucera, who is is president of the WA Council on the Ageing, says 23 per cent of people in Mt Lawley are over 60.

Mr Sutherland, who agrees the major local issue is "low-end antisocial behaviour", concedes his incumbency advantage is offset by Mr Kucera's profile as a former Labor minister.

"It's going to make my job harder, there's no doubt about that," said Mr Sutherland, who hopes to be considered for a cabinet post in a re-elected Liberal government. "Last election the job I had to win the seat was mammoth, no one even had me on the radar," he said. "Although it will be a hard fight, I think I'll win again."

Mr Kucera said he had no lingering animosity towards the party he quit in disgust after former premier Alan Carpenter tapped the then 63-year-old on the shoulder to retire.

Enjoying a 16 per cent margin in his old seat of Yokine - which makes up two thirds of the current Mt Lawley - Mr Kucera described the 2008 ructions as "water under the bridge".

"In some ways I've been spinning my wheels for the past few years because there's so much I felt was left undone," he said.