Coffs CBD businesses have seen the special rate extended for a further 12 months.
Coffs CBD businesses have seen the special rate extended for a further 12 months. Bruce Thomas/ The

CBD businesses wanted for plan

MEMBERS of the Coffs Harbour city centre business community are to be invited to become part of a CBD Masterplan Committee to help plan future improvements.

Earlier this month the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) approved a one-year extension to the CBD special rate which has been in place for the past 12 years, to fund further revitalisation of the area.

"The CBD special rate only applies to business rate payers within the CBD and it was those same business rate payers that put forward the proposal to council it be extended," Coffs Harbour Mayor, Councillor Keith Rhoades said.

"They recognise the special rate has delivered outstanding results for the CBD and community since it was put in place.

"That support was instrumental in creating the vibrant city centre we have today.

"You only have to look at the very popular café precinct in City Square, the plans that Gowings have for the Coffs Central shopping centre and the fact that city centre vacancies have dropped from 20% to 3-5% since 2000, to see how much it has improved."

Director of Corporate Business, Craig Milburn, said council originally applied to IPART for a ten-year extension of the special rate but was granted a 12-month option.

"What this will allow us to do is to develop a masterplan in partnership with CBD businesses containing a program of works that can be funded by a longer-term rate variation," he revealed.

"The consultation we've already had with those businesses has identified some key priorities such as improving car parking facilities, pedestrian and traffic flow and the city centre streetscape.

"The fact there is not a pre-determined works program is seen by all the relevant stakeholders as an opportunity to bring fresh eyes to the city centre to give us the opportunity to develop - by committee consensus - a second stage of appropriate works."

Council is to advertise for interested members of the CBD business community to become part of the Central Business District Masterplan Committee.

The nine-member committee will be made up of four CBD landowners, a community member and a CBD retailer who is not a property owner.

They will be joined by council's general manager (or delegate) and two senior managers from council's Land Use Health and Development and City Services departments.



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