Main street the key to suc­cess

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

THE Monto com­mu­nity has been ad­vised not to waste the strate­gic op­por­tu­ni­ties aris­ing from the Ru­ral Aid makeover.

An open fo­rum was held at Monto His­tor­i­cal Com­plex on Jan­uary 31 where res­i­dents con­tin­ued a di­a­logued about the town’s makeover.

Fol­low­ing the com­mu­nity plan­ning event on Jan­uary 30, small town spe­cial­ist Peter Kenyon wanted to stress the im­por­tance of strat­egy.

“You need to have a strate­gic out­come when it comes to this,” Mr Kenyon said. “It has to lead to things peo­ple have iden­ti­fied.

“You want more peo­ple in the town, more jobs, busi­nesses busy, and peo­ple feel­ing that is this the great­est com­mu­nity to live in.”

Con­ver­sa­tions over the hour ses­sion jumped from new paint jobs to chang­ing the bridge, dis­abil­ity ac­cess and toi­let blocks.

One con­stant theme rang out at the fo­rum, and that was the main street, and how to at­tract tourists to it.

“There’s no prepa­ra­tion 40kms out of town to get peo­ple ex­cited about the main street,” Mr Kenyon said.

“They haven’t got a clue what’s go­ing in the town cen­tre, so there’s a need for im­proved sig­nage into the town.’’

Once tourists are in the main street, Mr Kenyon wanted the res­i­dents to think about what will get them out of their car, and spend­ing money in lo­cal busi­nesses.

“Peo­ple make up their mind way be­fore they get to Monto whether they’re go­ing to get out to get a cof­fee, fill up with petrol, buy clothes, or go to the toi­let.

“Those de­ci­sions are way back, so how do you in­flu­ence their de­ci­sion?”

Mr Kenyon said that 95 per cent of tourists don’t stop twice in a town, so at­tract­ing them di­rectly to the main street was a top pri­or­ity.

“I can’t be­lieve the num­ber of towns that build a toi­let be­cause they hap­pen to have an Apex park that’s a kilo­me­tre out of town.

“They build the ul­ti­mate toi­let block, and tourists then don’t stop in the town be­cause it’s the sec­ond stop.”

The strat­egy of cen­tral­is­ing things in the CBD has now been put forth to help the town of Katan­ning in West­ern Aus­tralia.

They built an all ages play­ground a kilo­me­tre out­side of town, and be­cause of this, a mere 1 per cent of vis­i­tors go on to stop in their CBD.

“It was a dis­as­trous de­ci­sion,’’ Mr Kenyon said.

“What they needed to do was build it in the heart of town, rather than out there.”

An­other ex­am­ple of a de­cen­tralised tourist at­trac­tion was the “spec­tac­u­lar” mu­ral art in the South Aus­tralian town of Kimba.

“What they’ve found is that ev­ery­one is pulling into there, tak­ing pho­tos, go­ing to the toi­let, and by­pass­ing the town.”

This all ties back into Mr Kenyon’s driv­ing ar­gu­ment: fo­cus on the main street.

“The main street is the source of our pride.

“If the main street is look­ing bad, then it af­fects ev­ery­thing.”

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