Tourism an­swer to CBD

MAYOR REJECTS FREE PARK­ING AS SPUR FOR MORE RE­TAIL AC­TIV­ITY

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TONY RAGGATT

THE city’s po­lit­i­cal lead­ers have rec­om­mended growth in tourism and pro­mot­ing arts and craft and pop- up shops as a means of re­vi­tal­is­ing Townsville’s CBD.

But Mayor Jenny Hill re­jected sug­ges­tions that paid park­ing should be scrapped and said the dif­fi­cult re­tail con­di­tions were not re­stricted to the CBD.

Cr Hill, state La­bor can­di­date for Townsville Scott Ste­wart and fed­eral La­bor MP for Her­bert Cathy O’Toole pro­vided the com­ments at a Prop­erty Coun­cil of Aus­tralia fo­rum on Fri­day.

Asked what could be done to spur ac­tiv­ity in the CBD ahead of de­vel­op­ment of the sta­dium, Mr Ste­wart said the Gov­ern­ment was work­ing on a mar­ket- led pro­posal with ferry op­er­a­tor SeaLink to de­velop a new city ferry ter­mi­nal.

Un­der mar­ket- led pro­pos­als, gov­ern­ments typ­i­cally pro­vide ac­cess to land in re­turn for pri­vate in­vest­ment in com­mu­nity ser­vices.

“We see a lot more tourists, par­tic­u­larly back­pack­ers, com­ing into our city and us­ing that ( ter­mi­nal) ser­vice,” Mr Ste­wart said.

Cr Hill said the coun­cil hoped to soon an­nounce an agree­ment with the Hil­ton group re­lat­ing to a Dou­ble Tree ho­tel on coun­cil land next to the sta­dium site.

The coun­cil was also work­ing with the North Queens­land Cow­boys on a health and fit­ness project in the same area, she said.

While city traders have called for free park­ing and re­duc­tions in park­ing fines, she said: “I don’t think not hav­ing paid park­ing is the an­swer.”

Cr Hill said the “real is­sue” was the level of re­tail spend­ing.

“There’s just not enough money around for all the re­tail. So re­ally it’s about fa­cil­i­tat­ing those jobs and, sec­ondly, we need to bring more peo­ple into the CBD,” Cr Hill said.

Cr Hill said the coun­cil was try­ing to cre­ate more of a sense of green place, pro­vide for mar­kets, pop- up stores and a food mar­ket.

She said a la­goon project, as rec­om­mended in the Trans­for­ma­tion of Townsville re­port, would be a mas­sive at­trac­tor of peo­ple but would re­quire fund­ing sup­port.

Ms O’Toole said she would like to see pop- up shops, stalls and mar­ket spa­ces in the city. She said va­cant shops in Pic­nic Bay had been opened to traders at very re­duced rents and had been quite suc­cess­ful in at­tract­ing arts and crafts op­er­a­tors. She also rec­om­mended pro­vid­ing more ac­tiv­ity in the CBD af­ter 5pm.

Pic­ture: WES­LEY MONTS

DIF­FI­CULT CON­DI­TIONS: The CBD area in Townsville has been the sub­ject of a Prop­erty Coun­cil of Aus­tralia fo­rum.

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