OPINION: Meekatharra abuzz over retail development

Raelene HallMidwest Times
The old Lloyds building’s swanky new look.
Camera IconThe old Lloyds building’s swanky new look. Credit: Meekatharra Shire/Supplied

“Are we really in Meekatharra?” This comment was heard often during the evening of September 26 as Meekatharra locals — past and present, along with some visitors — delighted in the art exhibition and cocktail party held in the newly opened “Meekatharra Plaza”.

What a joy it was to be part of such a milestone event in our town.

When the Lloyds supermarket closed its door many years ago no one knew what would become of the building that has been a historic part of Meekatharra from its very early days.

As time went by vandals destroyed windows and doors and defaced the notice board area.

The boarded-up doors and windows left the section of the street with a neglected and derelict air.

There was much talk that the Shire was going to buy the building, and this took place in 2011.

I, along with many others, continually wondered what its plans for the building were.

When you are not at the coalface of these types of decisions you don’t realise just how much time and work is involved in creating a vision, finding funding for it, fine-tuning it and then bringing it to life.

Just when I began to think we’d retire before ever seeing the end result, activity began as the interior began to be stripped.

From then on, during every trip to town, we were keen to see the progress.

Like any big building project there were problems and delays but eventually, with teams from Geraldton and locals working together, an opening date was set.

With the formal opening by local dignitaries and visiting politicians, we were able to enjoy the opportunity to view the building prior to the evening’s event.

Jaws dropped and gasps were heard as the first glimpse of our very own “Meekatharra Plaza” was revealed.

With space for the community recreation centre, museum, shops, a cafe, conference room and a hairdresser it is a building worthy of the time and money spent on it.

How fortunate we are to have people with the drive, vision and passion for our community to take this from an idea to reality.

My wish is we will see others, with similar vision, take up the retail spaces available to enable anyone who visits us to see what is possible in our small outback towns.

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