Re­gional CBD in de­cline

Town re­newal project could be its saviour

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - SAM TURNER

ONE North Bur­nett coun­cil­lor be­lieves the re­gion is suf­fer­ing a “death of a thou­sand cuts”, due to the re­cent clo­sure of small busi­nesses.

Coun­cil­lor for di­vi­sion one Paul Lobegeier has said the grad­ual change in shop­ping pat­terns changed their CBD “dra­mat­i­cally”.

“Years ago, the mod­ern mo­tor car and the seal­ing of our roads saw our re­tail sec­tor fade, as peo­ple ex­pressed their right to shop, wher­ever they wanted,” Cr Lobegeier said.

“Now due to on­line shop­ping, our lo­cal ute de­liv­ery has gone from one load a day, to three or four ute loads.

“That’s com­merce that’s com­ing from else­where.”

In the past 12 months sev­eral shops have closed their doors in Monto and in the sur­round­ing town­ships.

Each clo­sure is not a fa­tal blow ac­cord­ing to Cr Lobegeier, but they have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the lo­cal econ­omy.

“It’s now the fur­ni­ture shop, the elec­tri­cal shop, and I just saw that Eidsvold even lost their butcher shop.

“It’s only us lo­cals that can change this.

“There is an obli­ga­tion too on our store own­ers and the CBD to pro­vide the best pos­si­ble ser­vice, be­cause peo­ple do re­ward ser­vice.

“It’s not al­ways about price.”

Fund­ing has been ap­proved by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment re­cently, with $120,000 to be spent in each town in the North Bur­nett as part of the ‘Town Re­newal Project’. This will be used to in­crease live­abil­ity, and lo­cal spend in each town­ship, with Cr Lobegeier sug­gest­ing the funds will help re­vi­talise the CBD. “We’re go­ing to be do­ing some sig­nage for the town, some shades in the park, some mu­rals, and we’ll be ask­ing the com­mu­nity on where we should spend the money.”

Cr Lobegeier be­lieves Monto is still very lucky in terms of their cur­rent busi­nesses.

“We’ve still got two of most things, we’ve got two butch­ers, two gro­cery stores, two pubs, and a cou­ple of sport­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions.

“I think our younger gen­er­a­tion need to also have a sit down, and have a think.”

He be­lieves they need to fo­cus more money in the town when­ever they can.

Pic­ture: Sam Turner

DIF­FI­CULT: Cr Paul Lobegeier at Monto's Aus­tralia Day cer­e­mony.

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