Return of traffic hasn’t driven a boom
IS there anyone with any ideas which does not involve parking? The plight of Townsville’s CBD is not new.
I have done an extensive study, after lots of walking and talking to every business in the city, of its problems when I launched a petition to retain Flinders Mall.
As a result, I did send Townsville City Council a number of ideas ( not all mine) which might have contributed to the survival of the CBD. Some of them have been implemented ( long term parking in the defunct sound shell and the dental clinic is one ( although I promoted cheap parking and free shuttle rather than the reverse).
As usual someone made a decision based on very dubious findings – the mall had to be reopened to traffic. Lots and lots of money was spent on “reports” and “fact findings” to support the reopening of the mall with very little conclusive evidence.
Even the Bulletin got into the game with cartoons showing tumble weeds rolling down our city centre. There were constant stories about “crime” in the city, of anti social behaviour ... “give the dog a bad name” what better when you want to kill it?
Meanwhile traffic was reintroduced to the mall and the boom promised to the businesses has not eventuated as indeed they knew it would not. A good council is one that balances long term and short term planning but from very early on the idea of sustainable growth has disappeared.
Every developer wants a shopping centre as an anchor to their project, and the council, with rates dollars in their eyes are glad to oblige.
In the past, commercial zoning was scarce, valuable and strictly controlled, now we have more shopping centres in Townsville, per head of population, than anywhere in Australia. No surprise then that our CBD has lost its shine. This is just one of the reasons, but there are many. Sadly I won’t be able to put my point across to the “city image committee” as I was obviously not deemed worthy of being part of this group.
It seems that unless a proposal has $ m signs in front of it, it cannot be considered. While I do not dismiss the stadium or the Supercars, I can assure you they have limited impact on the fortunes of the CBD, especially when compared with the Festival of Chamber Music.
Dismiss the CBD if you wish but this is the image of Townsville that tourists and visitors take away with them. JOELLE FLEMING,