PERTH – Let’s Build at least 200 more Concerto’s please

We must get with the times if we’re going to be a real world class SMART CITY.

Perth has all the trappings of a world class city and is well within reach of creating the smartest city in the world if it would slow down its urban sprawl and focus on populating our inner city hubs.

If we were to build another 200 38 story apartments like the Concerto Apartments building located in East Perth we’d facilitate approximately another 100,000 people within the greater CBD of Perth and we’d still be years behind Melbourne or Sydney.

It’s not a matter of should we, it’s a matter of how can we?

City of Perth must prepare itself for the growth right through its 20 square kms plus of inner city space as well as other major city hubs within the greater Perth in order to bring a 24/7 heart beat like any world class city.

With its current 20,000 plus residents in the inner city how do we expect this city to be to be put on the world map?

The world is waiting to participate in filling our universities with students as well as international businesses making Perth a Head Office home to their interests within Asia.

Let’s see that number grow by at least another 100,000 in the inner city to begin walking the walk and talking the talk calling our selves a Smart City.

Wise people seek the divine among us

I’d hate the thought of three strange rich men visiting my poorest of conditions and revealing to me my new born child’s complete destiny till the day of his death, what parent would want to know that?

The most unusual story of three wise men from the east following a star to bare gifts to a baby called Emanuel, meaning ‘God with us’

In a world filled with grief and uncertainty, these men felt compelled to search out and help resource humanities love, hope and redemption.

When these wise men found the baby called Emanuel in the poorest of conditions, they didn’t seek to change the circumstances, they simply laid at his feet their devotion of love.

They recognised him as a future king and priest by giving him the gifts of gold and incense. Finally they surrendered the baby’s destiny and accepted Emanuel’s ultimate sacrifice that he would endure, by the gift of mir, preparing him for his burial.

As a parent, I would’ve gladly accepted the gold and incense but asked them to keep the mir.

As a parent I’d be fine with a prophetic word that my child would impact the lives of many, but I’d be horrified to know my child would die before me as part of their destiny.

Fortunately these young parents were led by the Devine as were these wise men and they set the stage for the Devine to walk among us.

Emanuel born in sorrow, died in sorrow that we all may experience Emanuel, God with us.

In an age of technology, prosperity and busyness many have lost their soul and meaning for life.

Just know Emanuel is among us shedding the light of love, hope and renewal the moment we acknowledge our need for such a deep human experience.

Not quite a cathedral but you have to have vision

It was a privilege to connect my old Pastor friend of 38 years with my my first boss, my cousin from my teenage years, to reignite life to this old reception centre in the city of Swan.

This building on the corner of Great Northern Highway and Toodyay Road, Middle Swan was full of life in its heyday.

Imagine over 800 people congregating between this building and the restaurant next door close to forty years ago.

My uncle and cousin had an ability to live by the mantra of that old Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams with that famous quote ~ ‘Build it and they will come’

Unfortunately this building hasn’t seen life like they did in the eighties.

It was thrilling to visit New Destiny Christian Centre as they had their first service on the 1st December 2018 and seeing new families congregate in the tired old building.

The Pastor, Steve Cowan who is a gifted tradesman and people’s person shared a vision of the future of the building and creating a new community centre.

The atmosphere on the Sunday morning was raw and filled with life.

The church is setting out to be relevant and have joined the Swan Chamber of Commerce wanting to add value to the business community with their innovative ideas.

In 2019 they have great plans to refurbish the building and give it a new lease of life. More importantly, they are keen to provide all sorts of services to the community of Swan.

Let’s keep an eye on Destiny Christian Centre and see their story unfold and hopefully we’ll see hundreds benefit from their existence in the area.

The building is not quite a cathedral, but you have to have vision that sees the positive effect they will have in the community.

I’m sure my late uncle who built the building would be amused that the reception centre would end up being a church but a smart outlook would go with the flow. My cousin is thrilled to see the building being used as a community centre within the city of Swan, seeing the need in the area.

‘Build it and they will come’

My passion for life comes from the three F’s

One of the greatest joys one can experience is the realisation of a dream. 

Why I believe Smart City Perth will work, comes from the three F’s aligned in my life and other collaborators seeking to create a greater world for generations to come.

Family – Faith – Friends

Family: 

I’ve inherited a legacy of unconditional love from my mother, father, brother and sister and we celebrate 50 years as a Greek/Macedonian migrant family to this beautiful nation, Australia, 18th April 1968. Perth being our home town. 

I married a young Australian lady who captured my attention in a local church. We’ve spent the last thirty three years growing together. We’ve raised a beautiful family and celebrate life knowing our children and our grandchildren have every reason to succeed as we pass on our unconditional love to them.

Faith: 

Anyone who comes to know me will quickly pick up that I’m a person of faith. My faith is deeply personal and a driving force that I’ve developed since my teenage years.

My faith has created lots of conflict and opportunity, but as I’ve aged, my ability to harness and direct my beliefs for the greater good is evident. I proudly let people know that I am not affiliated with any organisation and have no other agenda but to reflect love, hope and charity wherever I walk.

Friends: 

If my family is fine and my conscience is clean, the sky is the limit to my energy.

I am my brothers keeper and I consider it a privilege to help someone in need if I have the capacity. If I don’t have the capacity to meet a need, I’m forever marrying people and opportunities to meet needs.

Who is my friend? 

Anyone within my sphere of influence.

“What will I build in my lifetime, a house or a home”

A man had two sons and he assigned each of them to build a house for themselves in a tired old town that showed prospect, it appeared to be a good investment for their future.

The time came for the father to inspect what each of the sons had built.

He visited the first son who built his house on top of the hill overlooking the town below.

When the father started looking throughout the house, it was evident that this son spared no expense and the architectural detail and materials used was of the highest quality.

The father compliments his son on the building, however the father makes one comment that could be taken as negative “As I walk through your house appreciating the building, it feels cold and isolated”

The father went on to visit the second sons house which was apparently built in the township.

As the father and son walked through the town, a voice from a shop keeper calls out to the son “Please have dinner at my house tonight and bring your father” … then another shopkeeper calls out “You must have lunch this Saturday at my house, I’d like to introduce your father to my family” …. voices of strangers it would seem called out to the son and the father offering a bed and food or transportation.

The father amused by all the generosity and how sociable everyone was and in particular how much they admired his son.

Then the father asks to see the second sons house. The son responds, “This is my house, this town. I invested in all the businesses and the people, helping them rebuild their town. They provide food for me, a bed and company.

The father mused by the unexpected answer. Being a wise old man, he responds to his son. “You have indeed built the most magnificent home rather than choosing to build a house yourself”

My father shared the above parable to me as a young boy and it has always resonated the question “What will I build in my lifetime, a house or a home

~ Dimitri Smilovitis (My father)

The picture was drawn for me to illustrate the parable by my good friend and artist Mark Bruning, look him up on Instagram.

Smart Cities and the conceited side of prosperity failing to connect

To the Smart City Concept – There’s nothing new under than sun. What are we willing to exchange for peace of mind, community and true prosperity?

It’s more than nostalgia, it’s about family and community bonds.

As a migrant Greek/Macedonian child growing up in the Perth suburbs, I could count eight homes we could walk to in less than ten minutes that were relatives, four homes on the same street. Fifty years later and I built on that same street with all the other relatives deceased or they moved away from my street to new communities.

There was a simplicity to our lives and that feeling of belonging in a foreign land was nothing more than staying connected with our roots while we figured out our new paths in this new country, Australia.

With the rise of opportunity, technology, education and the convenience of social media, you’d think we’d be even closer as a community? Unfortunately all these dynamics that are to make life easier also erode that quality that creates fiber in relationships called hardship.

Hardship is that quality that waits things out, that talks things through, that gives for the greater good of the community.

I grew up in a home so small that my parents couldn’t hide their arguments, they had to work stuff out and we all knew when things were sorted. Being poor made you appreciate the simple things and definitely made people like my mother creative and frugal, no one in my family went without.

It was a time when once a week fish and chips on a Friday night was to die for and sitting around the table for Sunday lunch connected the most dysfunctional family.

I remember a fellow Greek wealthy man asking me what suburb I lived in and when he heard my reply he had that look of pity. He in his hubris moment actually said these words to me “We need to look for a way to get you out of there” thinking he was wanting to make my life richer.

I can’t help but pity such arrogance, he has no idea how wealthy I am.

It’s more than nostalgia, it’s about family and community bonds.

The Smart City Concept must bring families and community together, otherwise we’ve failed no matter how impressive our cities appear to be.

Swan Chamber of Commerce in Revival mode

No two ways about it, what I thought was a Chamber in its death spiral some years back has definitely turned a corner.

My involvement with the chamber spans many years and I’ve never really seen the benefit of involvement but respectfully I represented a family and a local shopping centre and on their behalf would attend most of the events.

My experience was typical of an organisation that lacked vision and forgot what its mission statement was all about. It reached its natural course and the dead wood was apparent in every direction.

1. The dead wood of over government representation

2. The dead wood of big business running the show

3. The dead wood of forgetting to invest in startups and entrepreneurs

4. The dead wood of elitism

Over the last four years I’ve seen the changing of the guard and the renewing of vision with its focus back on small business and the next generation.

The current new board is filled with new life and respectfully represents what any progressive enterprise ought to have – Pragmatic Enthusiasm ‘They are walking the walk and talking the talk’

It was interesting to note that not many big businesses sponsored the chamber this last year but they will to be part of this REVIVAL if they are to remain significant.

It was interesting to see local council and government only sponsored a minimal portion $$$ of what they’ve done in years gone by and only one councillor attended The Business Awards. This gives me great hope that the balance of power will return to small business rather than having a dependency on government support and hand outs from large corporations.

Organisations like the Swan Chamber of Commerce will thrive when they fight for significance, rather than rest on their laurels of past success.

The last four years may be the most turbulent times that the Swan Chamber of Commerce have had to endure in years but it will pay off in spades if they stay on this trajectory.

They’ve finished the year with the Business Awards and it was by far the best atmosphere that I’ve experienced in years.

Full of new blood, youth and young businesses.

I’m confident that the chamber will see a new lease if life as long as it sticks to its purpose ‘Support and enable small businesses to thrive and become a lobby group that challenges its very purpose not just its existence’

A special note of thanks to a 21 year old university student, Sebastian, who works part time for the chamber and oversees the marketing, he was integral to making the 2018 Swan Chamber Awards night an absolute success. Sebastian is the absolute representation of what Chambers like this or any other worthwhile organisation stands for.

It’s our responsibility as elders to make sure that the next generation are equipped to thrive not just survive. As much as guys like Gerry Hanssen who is the current president of the chamber can be annoying, anyone who knows him well, knows his heart is in the right place and we need more leaders that are tired of talkfests.

Gerry, is comfortable to start looking at a new leader to take his place now that the focus of the chamber is headed in the right direction.

Most leaders would find this hard to do but then again, they are not leaders.