Peter Bassett dreams of the Alice of his lost youth …

Comment on Melanka: 8 storeys done deal, but still questions by Ian Sharp.

Peter Bassett dreams of the Alice of his lost youth it seems. It is worth pointing out that the Todd Street that existed in the 70s, from Melanka up past the old Stuart Arms, Grandad’s Ice cream shop, up to the Shell Todd and Riverside, was “killed” by changing economic forces leading to the westward shift of the CBD: Larger scale retailers seeking space for their barns and car parks, K-Mart, Coles, the relocation of Woolies into the new Yeperenye Complex, and the knocking down of the Stuart Arms and the construction of the Ford Plaza (now Alice Plaza).
This westward shift has continued into the old railway housing area with the development of Harvey-Norman, Repco, BBQ’s Galore etc.
The Alice Plaza development has had a particularly strong effect on Todd Street north, a long wall of dead frontage, all businesses now facing inwards to the Plaza.
I remember Murray Necks used to have active frontage onto Todd Street for a while, long gone now. One saving grace has been the establishment of the cinema complex in the old Woollies building, attracting people and eateries.
The shift to the west has taken a lot of shopping by locals away from Todd Street (apart from the cyclists and leftards who frequent the coffee shops) which has become more tourist orientated as a result, and therefore subject to the ups and downs of that industry.
As for the Melanka site, for what its worth I agree with Paul, but then I think back to The year of the Bulldozer as The Advocate styled it, circa 1986?
We lost Marrons Newsagency and a lot more. So, I suppose this is just one more blight that those of us who remember will have to put up with. I’m not sure though it will be in keeping with the character of the Old Alice.
However, it seems a done deal in terms of planning approval, but who knows, development plans have fallen over before as economic realities change. As Paul asks, are there enough people wanting to live in the new development to justify the business risk?

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