Glad to see that some sense is being shown by The Shepparton Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the article in The Adviser regarding opening of the mall to slow moving traffic.
As it was pointed out in the article, “Many people including our city councillors seem to have forgotten that it was the businesses and the landlords who paid for the mall in the first place.”
The traders and the chamber have spoken out in favour of the reopening the mall. This must happen if this retail precinct is to survive, but as usual there are those in council who will again ignore their concerns as it doesn’t agree with their agenda and will keep wasting ratepayers money on the dying mall.
I also have a chuckle each time I see the council’s new advertising on the TV showing the mall in the background with the comment “and a growing retail centre.” Seems a last ditch effort to justify wasting ratepayers money.
It is time for the council to listen to the traders and the chamber and take the action to open up the mall.
THE WAY FORWARD?
Shepparton is facing, with many other regional cities, the emergence of multiple shopping satellites. They are the by-product of a growing, spreading city and usually an indication of the bright future of the city they surround. These shopping centres, with their spacious free parking and easy access attract businesses from outside areas as well as provide for consumers in their local demographic. Along with this, however, is the fact that they pull a large amount of business from the local Central Business District (CBD).
It is in my opinion that most visitors and potential new business operators judge a location primarily on the vibrancy of its CBD, then surrounding infrastructure plus the ability/inability of its council. Whilst our CBD is moving along quite well, I would not, at the moment, consider it close to vibrant; a situation a proactive council must address.
The recent Vaughan Street upgrade is a credit to council, along with the retail sector which cooperated to turn a tired looking precinct into an active, busy area that is a pleasure in which to shop.
Surely with the Vaughan Street success still fresh, now is the time to strike. It must have crossed the minds of council that an upgrade of Maude Street is the next logical step. A complete facelift of Fryers Street to link-up with Vaughan Street is required. Opening the Maude Street Mall and returning it to its former shopping strip status must surely be part of an upgrade of this nature. More parking and movement in the CBD has to be a big plus for our city.