A united voice to project new era for dynamic Fyshwick

John Thistleton22 July 2019

Fyshwick business and property owners are urged to attend a public meeting on July 23 at 12:30 pm. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

A public meeting in Fyshwick on Tuesday will consider forming a new business group to guide the ongoing growth and identity of Canberra’s dynamic light-industrial suburb. Over the past 15 years Fyshwick has become trendier, with cutting-edge work spaces, a wider choice of cafes and eateries in a transformation like old industrial suburbs in inner Sydney, Melbourne, London and New York.

Fyshwick businessman Rob Evans says with a $2.3 billion economy, the second biggest in Canberra and rapidly changing image, it’s time to give businesses their own voice. Businesses and property owners are urged to attend the meeting on July 23 at 12:30 pm at Building 3, 1 Dairy Road, Fyshwick.

“We want to see if there is an appetite for any Fyshwick business owners to be a part of a Fyshwick group, and we are almost certain there is, a group that can in the future be a voice for the area,” Mr Evans says. “Most great business areas have some incorporated body, Mitchell Business Traders for example. It is surprising Fyshwick doesn’t have a voice. When I first came to Fyshwick and opened in 2002, we joined the Canberra Chamber of Commerce which had a Fyshwick chamber division. We had positive networking opportunities. Things have changed. The former Chamber of Commerce and the Business Council have changed several times since then.”

Mr Evans says over the same period of time outstanding new developments have been established in Fyshwick, particularly in the Dairy Flat Road area, collaborating with one another.

“We have to remember Fyshwick is 4.2 kilometres from Parliament House, close to ‘old Canberra’, with easy access from every area of our city. Fyshwick integrates into the foreshores of Lake Burley Griffin along Dairy Flat Road, into the markets and Kingston, a real extension of south and north Canberra, from the Monaro Highway and Majura Parkway, to Tuggeranong and Gungahlin. It is a great inner-city industrial area that every great city has.”

Mr Evans says Dairy Flat Road’s success story, Capital Brewing, sits among complementary businesses, while the Molonglo Group has transformed old buildings in the precinct to integrate with the lake.

“Our vision is Fyshwick becoming like Alexandria in Sydney, and Richmond in Melbourne and the inner light industrial areas of London and New York. We want to see that happen in Canberra as well, to follow what the great cities do. We want it to continue that way, without noxious or heavy industry coming in here, setting everything back a few years. It has evolved from heavy industry, pornography, fireworks to somewhere at the forefront of light industrial, mixed use retail, trendy cafes and brewing beer. Many furniture, second-hand and antique shops that have sprung up have that bohemian feel. These businesses and bulky goods retailers need a large footprint that can’t be found in a suburban shopping centre like Curtin or Kambah or Charnwood.”

Mr Evans says businesses calling for a united Fyshwick voice are not attempting to drive out long-standing heavy industries, and wanted to work with them and perhaps provide more services for them.

“If their employees are finding it a nicer place to work because there are better cafes in the area, and have a beer by the lake on the way home, all the better. What we do want to ensure is the planning process is in keeping with what is happening. Planning seems to be very ad hoc. Small businesses have invested a lot more money per local Canberran than the bigger businesses and these businesses are the lifeblood of Canberra, employing a lot of people,” Mr Evans says.

To register for Tuesday’s public meeting and help gather ideas for the future of Fyshwick, click here.

Original Article published by John Thistleton on The RiotACT.

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