Tourism answer to CBD
MAYOR REJECTS FREE PARKING AS SPUR FOR MORE RETAIL ACTIVITY
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.
DIFFICULT CONDITIONS: The CBD area in Townsville has been the subject of a Property Council of Australia forum.