Sunday, December 17, 2017

Letters to the Editor

Editor February 22, 2017

TIME FOR SOLUTIONS TO MALL/CITY CENTRE

Dear Editor,

Following recent extensive commentary and debate about Shepparton’s central business district and mall, it’s time for solutions to fix our ailing city centre because for too long we have been going backwards and forwards with a plethora of opinions flying everywhere and not achieving the main goal of revitalising our city.

Whatever Cr Chris Hazelman, and anyone else that truly cares about the mall and our CBD says about this topic, (in reference to a recent Letter to the Editor among other recent comments), the fact still remains that we have a major issue on our hands that will only continue to get worse unless we hit it head-on.

So what’s the cure I hear you ask? Unfortunately there is no clear cure because no one, including Chris Hazelman, has a crystal ball but we do know something for sure, actions speak louder than words.

Healthy debate is good if excellent outcomes are achieved and that’s precisely what the Shepparton Chamber of Commerce and Industry is looking for and trying hard to achieve. Healthy debate is also good, particularly if the facts being used in the debate are correct.

Let’s leave what has been said behind us and look to a bright future to help sought out what have become the most critical problems Shepparton’s CBD has faced in its history.

This is a defining time for Greater Shepparton City Council, the chamber, traders, property owners and the community to work together to revitalise our CBD. There are many facets to the CBD debate.

Research, forums, petitions, and surveys have all been carried out over many years, with many recommending and pointing to reopening Maude Street (currently the mall).

The chamber believes five key points could make a huge difference to revitalising Shepparton’s CBD.

They are:

1.    Open the mall between Fryers and High Streets to slow moving traffic. (This strip could be closed to traffic at certain times of the year for special city events).

2.    Increase parking along Maude Street between Fryers and High Streets, (Fraser Street car park has proved to be successful as it’s one of the city’s most popular car parks).

3.    Free timed parking with strict rules for business employees and employers (policed). The community, ratepayers, business owners, property owners and council will benefit across the board with a considerably healthier and vibrant CBD.

4.    Property owners offer realistic and competitive rental rates to attract business back to the CBD: market forces should prevail.

5.    Uniform shop trading hours (this is likely to occur as business returns to the CBD and market forces kick in).

Spending countless dollars on promotions to attract people to the CBD, doesn’t necessarily convert into business success if the CBD doesn’t have the businesses who can afford to open, particularly on weekends. It equates to businesses at the moment having their hands tied behind their backs…it’s a catch 22 situation in our CBD.

The chamber encourages all parties involved in the CBD to join forces and implement exciting change for the long term and wellbeing of the Shepparton CBD.

Let’s not get bogged down by the knockers and get on with revitalising our city.

The chamber looks forward to continuing to work with the council to implement exciting change for the long term wellbeing of the CBD.

The chamber represents over 200 businesses of which many are located in the CBD.

Yours sincerely,

Carl Hainsworth,

Vice President,

Shepparton Chamber of Commerce and Industry