WITH the decline of Shepparton’s CBD over many years, we are now paying the price of inaction by past councils and management that appear to have lacked vision for the heart of our city.
There are a multitude of reasons why this has occurred, which can be covered in future editions.
One major reason is not knowing how business functions, which is the lifeblood of regional Australia.
The Adviser doesn’t pretend to have all the answers on this subject; there are myriad reasons for the CBD’s decline. However, it is worth discussing the pros and cons as to how we can improve our CBD.
Here are our top 10 suggestions:
1. Open the Maude Street Mall to tree-lined beautification, parking and slow moving traffic (council would reap higher rates as property prices increase).
2. Substantially increase parking (strategically) across the city (currently over 80 percent occupancy rate).
3. Council purchase vacant land and/or dilapidated buildings for car parks around the CBD (while the price of land is relatively cheap), using the millions of dollars raised from businesses for car parking over the years.
4. Genuine investment in car parking in the CBD – perhaps a new multi-deck car park.
5. Free, timed parking in the CBD would prove a huge boost to business and shopping across the city.
6. Create a new ‘town square’ near the Telstra Tower. This would provide an excellent area for families and the elderly, and could be based on a traditional European town square concept.
7. Redirect heavy transport away from High and Wyndham Streets.
8. Bring a feeling of pride back to our city with traditional Christmas decorations and fairy lights throughout the city; light up the Telstra Tower making it into a giant Christmas tree. Shepparton could become the talking point of regional Australia as the Christmas City of Lights. Greater Shepparton City Council is currently inviting everyone to participate in this.
9. Instigate a major upgrade of our train commuter services to and from Shepparton, along with a railway station upgrade.
10. Continue to focus on Shepparton becoming a first class health and education precinct.
The above suggestions are only the tip of the iceberg as to what we can do as a city.
The newly planned Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) will prove a huge winner for Shepparton. The wonderful new sports precinct is already a winner, which Greater Shepparton City Council has driven hard to achieve, and the council’s major events programme, attracting many millions of dollars of business, is a great success.
There are so many great things happening around Shepparton. We now need to focus on creating a successful CBD to compliment these successes.
The Adviser welcomes suggestions from our readers as to how we can improve our CBD.
Please email your thoughts to [email protected], and we will endeavour to publish them. Please keep your word count to a maximum of 100 words.