Mas­ter Builders NT

NT News - - NT WEEKEND - DAVID MALONE Chief Ex­ec­u­tive

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!

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