Empty shops in central Whangarei could and should be filled with music art, creative tech displays and community projects in an experiment to revitalise the CBD.
3 hours of free parking needs to be offered, workers cars need to be kept out of the city $2.00 per day parking needs to be offered on the outer limits of the CBD for workers.
Landlords and creative groups need to get together. Rates can be looked at but not at the expense of putting residential rates up. If rates go down rents must also go down.
There is a global movement to revitalise empty spaces. A combination of rising rents and falling sales have led to dozens of closed and empty shops in CBDs around the world.
I would also like to see a community-driven health hub staffed by professional volunteers established within the CBD.
It has become very hard to get a doctors appointment, people with minor ailments could be helped at the community level.
This could mean older people will visit.
After or while they wait for a community check-up or catch up they may stop for lunch and a bit of shopping.
It needs to be about generating opportunities for artists community groups and retailers and pop up businesses.
We want to see this city lively and vibrant, not depressed and empty.
Environmental changes are needed to use a space for educational purposes growing food on the outskirts of the CBD would be one idea.
Popup groups that intend to use an empty space for impromptu performances.
Another idea would be art month putting up art displays in empty windows on a rotational basis.
Some may be temporary. Some may go a bit longer, others will be something like 1 month, but the benefit of these smaller projects or community groups is they're people-orientated.
Beautification work around the center city, plantings and things to make it more attractive and inviting.
Allowing big-box retailers to develop away from the CBD will take shoppers away, we need to be careful about the positioning of big-box retailers.
Okara Ward Whangarei 2019 Core needs
Revitalising the CBD. My solution would see Whangarei CBD evolving as a place for small boutique retailers, cafes, bars, restaurants, and inner-city apartment living.
Employment employ locals listen to locals their needs and ambitions. The large projects often go to Auckland businesses, only to suffer large cost overruns this has got to stop.
Make Whangarei safe again
Promoting business Make Whangarei fun again
Northland residents and visitors don’t feel safe in the Whangarei CBD at night.
Do you feel safe going into the Whangarei CBD at Night? research tells me many visitors and residents don’t feel safe in CBD at night, women elderly and the disabled in particular don’t feel safe.
Our business community needs people in our city, to socialize, to enjoy themselves and feel safe. More cameras are needed, we need to identify areas that need better lighting and signage.
We need people living in the CBD we need to relax the rules to make it economical to develop inner-city living
Parking and shopping areas need to be safe for people coming to and from the CBD or to social events work sports and leisure activities.
We need to bring people and income into our CBD. People need to know they can safely leave their cars, get money from bank machines and walk around without fear or intimidation.
The more people we can bring into the CBD the safer we will all feel.
Staying away which is exactly what happens now will only exacerbate the problem of having deserted streets after dark.
What can WDC council do to help make Whangarei a safer, more accessible and safe place to live. They can listen to the people.
WDC needs to spend our money wisely I will look at ways to save while still delivering
Okara Ward 2019
Whangarei CBD is facing the challenges of changing times.
The way we go about our lives and in particular how we spend our money has changed CBD’s all over the world over are struggling to remain relevant against competition from online and big brand retailers and as offices move to a home base and work from the cloud.
Big brand outlets are based out at Okara shopping center, a better connection needs to be established between the CBD and Okara shopping center
My solution would see Whangarei CBD evolving as a place for small boutique retailers, cafes, bars, restaurants, and inner-city apartment living. That would be the long term goal but it is time to start the ball rolling evolution is needed provincial towns across NZ are taking the initiative by taking action now.
Whangarei council needs to look at removing parking meters from the CBD or alternately provide 3-hours free parking if people get the opportunity many would make shorter visits to the CBD which would help retailers.
A pedestrian walkway needs to be designed and built that will take CBD shoppers to Okara and back again, we currently have the Hatea loop which leads not only around the loop by also to the small pocket park on Port road from there is a pedestrian crossing over to Okara shopping center. This is too far from the CBD.
A shuttle running hourly between Vine street and Okara Shopping center may work.
CBD revitilisation is needed
Revitalising the CBD remove parking metres
Many councils around the world are making parking free, with a time limit.
It’s a simple thing for a council to do, there is a lot our council can learn from shopping centers around New Zealand about how to attract shoppers- free parking is a major one.
The Tauranga City Council and the Rotorua District Council have also had discussions around free parking as one of the ideas to come from community brainstorming meetings.
There are other things Whangarei council can do. Relaxing planning regulations so the conversion of properties to residential use can happen easily rather than through an uncertain and frustrating resource consent process that is hard to navigate and expensive.
Take a look at Melbourne City Council they have revitalized there CBD. They encouraged the conversion of old industrial buildings into new residential spaces by changing regulations and improved the street-level environment. As a result, the number of residential units in Melbourne’s CBD population grew by more than 30,000 in just 15 years.
This sort of initiative requires leadership and forward-thinking. CBD landlords will be forced to adapt or be left behind. They need to reduce rents and become more creative about how they structure their lease arrangements. The standard commercial lease that locks a tenant in for years is redundant by modernization. Landlords could by offering their space on a week by week basis to meet growing demand from “pop up stores”. Pop up retail is big business. There are advantages for tenants.
1# It will better suit business unsure about the long-term viability of their business in a location, it will encourage hope for retailers, having so many empty shops in the CBD is lost opportunity.
2# It suits those who want to off-load stock at a location or those who want to target a particular selling period e.g. Christmas.
3# It gives those with products the opportunity to test the market response. Bricks and mortar retailing can be high risk for start-ups, the chance to rent a pop-up store and test the market will lead to some staying and create some excitement.
4# It’s also advantageous to a landlord who would otherwise have vacant space removing cash from their bank account. Most pop up shop tenancies ranges from 1 week to two months.