CBD group doesn’t rate promotional fund

COMMERCIAL ratepayers in Nowra would rather see the CBD Promotions Committee funds spent on infrastructure rather than drawcards to attract people.

Nowra Commercial Ratepayers and Tenants Association chairman Scott Baxter said commercial property owners pay about $140,000 a year in rates.

It is money he said members would rather see spent on permanent improvements to the CBD. 

“Imagine how the CBD would look if that money had been spent each year on the landscaping and streetscape, and on programs to keep the place looking clean.

“The CBD would look better, we could have more bins, seats, more cleaning could be done, we could get rid of graffiti and footpaths could be improved.

“If it’s a clean and presentable place people will want to visit,” he said.

However former CBD Promotions Chairwoman and CBD ratepayer Catherine Shields disagrees.

She believes Nowra needs a balance of good marketing and a physical facelift.

“The two work hand in hand,” she said.

“Yes by fixing up the streetscape that will help but you can’t do one without the other, we’ve got to have marketing.

“We can make the town look as pretty as we want if but nobody knows it’s there they won’t stop.”

She made the point that the bypass does not give passing motorists an idea of what the Nowra CBD is, or what is on offer.

“It’s an ugly bypass, with car yards and the back of big concrete barns, it’s not at all inviting.

“That is something that needs to be worked on.

“The town needs ideas, and we need to promote what’s good about it.

“That is what the CBD Promotions Committee does.

“The committee submits a plan of action to council every year which council signs off on or comments on.”

She said did not consider the town’s marketing budget of about $135,000 per year as excessive.

“It is not big considering how many businesses there are,” she said.

Shoalhaven Business Chamber manager Jennifer Stewart welcomed anyone who has ideas to help promote the CBD to come forward and share them.

“We are allocated money from council to promote the CBD,” she said.

“We try to do promotions every quarter.

“This year we’ve done a gift voucher promotion, we gave away a cruise, and had a highly successful scratch and win promotion.

“We did the Christmas decorations, and held the Santa Spectacular to launch the Christmas season in the CBD.

“The CBD Promotions Committee is lifting the profile of Nowra’s CBD.

“Early in the new year we are looking at having an event for businesses in Nowra to talk about the promotions,” she said. 

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