Requests for more detail on the welcome spending in Katherine’s CBD have fallen on deaf ears.
The Government’s announcement of $5m for a CBD re-vamp was scarce on detail.
Katherine people also want to know when the work can be expected to start.
Repeated requests for more information have not been answered.
“The Katherine CBD revitalisation is currently at the planning stages and further details will be released when they become available,” is the latest advice.
Shopkeepers, the Chamber of Commerce and other residents campaigned for the money last year with the support of the Katherine Times.
Our investigation detailed the large number of empty shops in the CBD and a need to address the problem.
It was all prompted by the shock closure of Hourglass Jewellers in the Katherine Shopping Centre.
We found about 20 shops were also closed in the CBD, and some of the storefronts have been vandalised.
Retailers said expensive rent has prevented new businesses from opening in Katherine.
The increasing trend towards online shopping was also identified as a challenge to Katherine shops.
Shop owners also identified a need to spend on street beautification, particularly in Katherine Terrace.
While the council says it is not responsible for Katherine Terrace, as it is part of a highway, retailers said they were still being charged ever increasing rates.
The government responded by saying it already spends between $600,000-$700,000 a year maintaining Katherine Terrace.
Katherine Town Council has unveiled its own detailed plans to fix up Railway Terrace.
A one-off forum was held at the Civic Centre in September last year, chaired by the chamber’s chairman Kevin Grey, himself a main street business owner.
Most at the forum agreed Katherine was in dire need of a makeover.
The NT Government funding announcement on July 19, on the eve of the Katherine Show holiday, gave little real information.
Katherine MLA Sandra Nelson said the government was investing $5 million to support the Katherine Town Council deliver key revitalisation projects in Katherine’s CBD:
- Road and infrastructure improvements, parking, lighting, pedestrian connectivity and access, WIFI/CCTV and public toilets.
- Landscape architecture, revitalising major parks, function centre upgrades, landscape improvements and installation of paving and street furniture.
- Continued town planning development.
These works will improve safety, security and create a functional and engaging CBD that will be available for residents and tourists alike to enjoy, Ms Nelson said.
More than two weeks, there is still no further detail than this.