Katherine residents can’t be spending money elsewhere while also demanding new shops, Katherine’s Chamber of Commerce chair has said.
“Over the last ten years there have been a lot of specialty shops in Katherine, but people are buying more elsewhere,” chair Kevin Grey said.
“You can’t have it both ways.”
With more people opting for the ease and variety of online shopping, on the ground retailers are missing out.
But, Mr Grey said the NT Government’s proposed CBD revitalisation plan is a “great start”, and could be just what the town needs to attract more businesses.
“From the general consensus, if people want more shops the focus needs to be on making the environment safe and attractive, more welcoming for foot traffic.
“In turn that is going to bring in people who want to open shops,” he said.
He said the government’s proposed CBD improvements “contribute to the safety of the CBD and make it amenable for businesses to want to be there.”
Working with Katherine Town Council, the NT Government is investing $5 million to improve and revitalise the CBD.
The project involves improvements to: roads and infrastructure, parking, lighting, WIFI/CCTV, pedestrian access, public toilets and major parks.
The project also involves improvements to the sidewalks and implementing street furniture.
“This is part of an overall plan to create an enriching community that is engaging and functional for local residents, those visiting from the Big Rivers region, those considering relocating to a regional area and tourists alike,” Minister for the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Eva Lawler said.
Mr Grey said the large sum of money “is a result of a process that people have lobbied for and worked for, for years.”
“Money doesn’t fall from the sky,” he said.
“There have been several meetings about improving Railway Terrace.
“In the past everyone has had a chance to participate in those meetings… about how to improve the CBD.”
When the CBD revitalisation was announced, the NT Government said the plan would include improvements to public toilets.
Agreeing with the plan, Mr Grey said he would rather see improvements to already established public toilets than new additions.
“It is a challenge we have in [Katherine], but you should be able to pull up anywhere in Australia and use a public bathroom.
“Keeping them clean is the challenge,” he said.
The Katherine Times recently hit the streets to find out what shop owners thought of the government’s CBD revitalisation plans: