In a prepared statement released in response to the Katherine Times’ articles, Katherine Town Council today said the town’s main street was “performing relatively well”.
Katherine Town Council CEO Robert Jennings said despite 10 empty shops the town was still doing well when compared with other Northern Territory townships.
Mr Jennings said it was difficult to “combat the natural vacancy of street shops common across towns in Australia”.
“It is worth noting that between the benefits of the Katherine industrial sector, the RAAF Tindal works, tourism spending, the strong pastoral industry, the many contracts being released by DIPL, pop-up cafes and home businesses; we believe Katherine is performing relatively well when compared to other NT townships.
Mr Jennings said since late 2016, Katherine MLA Sandra Nelson, the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics (DIPL),Chamber of Commerce and Council had “been meeting separately to discuss how to best support our community with respect to our main street”.
“There has been quite a bit of discussion about our main street lately, so we thought it important to provide some facts on what is already being done,” Mr Jennings said.
“In conjunction with all parties, we are working to see if we can support the vacant shops being filled.
“Since 2016, DIPL have secured additional funding to deliver minor improvements to the street on top of the ongoing operational funding.”
While no concrete plans have been made to salvage empty businesses in the main street, council has been working with the NT Government on “The Railway Terrace Revitalisation project”.
The project has been “identified in the draft Municipal Plan 2017/18 as being a series of activities and elements that improve the area as a multi-use community recreation space that includes:
- · The new RSL Cenotaph (already funded and underway)
- · A railway museum precinct (already funded)
- · Connections to the main street (including an upgraded town square)
- · A potential new function centre on the river’s edge
- · A new cultural trail and associated spaces for community and tourists (funding is scheduled for 2018/19)
- · The remaining spaces will be put out to community consultation for submissions as to potential uses.”