Regional CBD in decline
Town renewal project could be its saviour
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.
DIFFICULT: Cr Paul Lobegeier at Monto's Australia Day ceremony.