How many surveys does it take to revitalise our CBD? It's not a trick question but rather a cry of frustration as Shoalhaven City Council once again asks ratepayers and residents for ideas to make the centre of Nowra a place we want to visit.
It's starting to feel like groundhog day. Yet again, after years of concept plans, masterplans, consultants reports, staff reports and, yes, community surveys, we seem to have landed back at square one.
And the CBD? It remains largely dowdy and unloved with a couple of bright spots, among them the renovation of the old Spotlight/Myer building and the murals that have transformed the walls of some of the buildings.
Whenever the question about the CBD is raised, the feedback from the community is consistent: give us shops we want to spend our money in, restaurants we want to eat in, streetscapes we want to enjoy.
Without doubt, council must shoulder some of the blame for the current state of the CBD. Zoning decisions it made in the past have all contributed to the centre of Nowra's stagnation.
Bowing to short-sighted business pressure all those years ago and agreeing to place a shopping mall across the highway was the first mistake. It fractured the town.
Allowing the South Nowra retail hub to expand beyond its original purpose as a bulky goods centre also contributed to the CBD's demise. As we've seen, over the years that original purpose has fallen by the wayside and now pharmacies, homewares stores, tackle shops and the like have all drawn business from the centre of town.
However, it's not all gloom and doom.
The likely activation of the riverfront after the sale of the troubled caravan park will offer the CBD a second chance. If plans for units and tourist activities and accommodation are realised, there will be demand for a shopping and entertainment hub nearby.
The challenge will be to connect that new precinct with the centre of Nowra once the new bridge is built. That connection will have to be pedestrian and cycle friendly and feel safe.
Being able to walk or cycle from the new riverfront into town without having to cross four lanes of traffic will make all the difference but arriving at the right solution is an enormous challenge.
It's critical we get it right because if we make the CBD accessible to a vibrant riverfront, the rest will follow.