Hands up all of you that have had a good look at the Whangarei City Centre Plan 2017…. It’s been around awhile so all of you should at least had a quick look!

On the whole this would seem to be the heart of a solid plan capable of breathing life into Whangarei’s CBD, all be it does have a few gaps here and there. Mayor Sheryl Mai and her team in particular Alison Geddes, G.M Planning and Development are committed to a solid framework that has the courage to look more that thirty years into the future and if future regimes stay the course, will deliver a centre we can all be proud of.

However, I can not but comment on the obvious fact that so much of the ‘rewards’ of the plan are a long way off. Here at NorthChamber (NZ Chambers of Commerce Northland), we support ‘The Plan’, but recognise that a fluid, fast action plan is essential to keep the heart beating whilst it is being delivered over the next thirty years.

Accordingly, we propose to lead a team that with broad support from the Community and our City Council will be able to ‘bend the rules a little’ to support business success in our dying CBD and give the Community at large something to dance about!

Let’s look at a few examples:

  1. More street events such as the hugely successful Cars and Coffee, Art fairs, food fairs, music and Educational breakouts.
  2. Events targeting individual businesses, featuring auctions and other spotlight type activities.
  3. Making use of the many untenanted shopfronts for short term promotion of business and Education.
  4. Public speaking and other live communication, perhaps a Town Cryer.
  5. Street sporting events…..

Its been done before you say, yes it has, so let’s do it again and have some real fun! So, Mayor, empower us to make it happen, give us the internal connections to break through the bureaucracy and get this pumping! There are those of you out there that have, or would like to play a part, I look forward to hearing from you.

Stephen Smith

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