Master Builders NT
OPINIONS are like belly buttons. Everyone has one, but they generally aren’t all that useful. And when it comes to our CBD, we sure have a lot of those (opinions).
Adding in my opinion, the problems in the city are far from terminal but they are now urgent.
The bones of a great city remain. The threads of a unique Darwin story are there too.
We have great business owners and leaders who can shape its future.
Good projects are on the horizon that will bring a bit of buzz. And the recent activation work has been great.
But we also shouldn’t kid ourselves.
The CBD faces some pretty big challenges and the biggest is the dramatic slowing in our economy.
As well, the online marketplace is here to stay. We clearly need to work towards the next wave of opportunities.
And you only have to scratch the surface to unearth a real frustration with the bits and pieces approach to city development that we have seen for far too long.
Of course, none of those problems occurred overnight, so we should not expect quick results or any magic bullet solutions.
It took a while to get here, and it will take a while to turn things around too! If I could throw in my 5c worth, I would say we should:
■ Do hundreds of small improvements right now, in parallel with the bigger ideas like the City Deal.
■ Forget concrete, and some of the crazier ‘standards’, and bring back landscape — everywhere!
■ Throw some of the planning scheme in the bin, and do everything to incentivise owners to repurpose older buildings.
■ Put the ‘story of Darwin’ at the centre of city development.
■ Assist the Larrakia with their aspirations, marvel in the ‘Z Forces’ story from World War II for example, and build the Cyclone Tracey experience.
■ Be uncompromising. It’s completely unacceptable to defecate on our footpaths or accost people, and, establish a city leadership group that is not a working party of council and government. With the greatest of respect to the mayor and Chief Minister, we need a much bigger ambition than that!