Chamber receives $30,000 to promote local business
The Peninsula Chamber of Commerce has been given $30,000 by Central Coast Council to promote local business and to increase foot traffic.
The grant is the result of a town centre review conducted by the Council of business development support for small businesses.
The funding and the ideas behind it have been welcomed by small business owner Ms Nadeane Fogg who fell foul of council regulations this month when she tried to improve visibility of her restaurant Link and Pin in Railway St.
"Someone complained to council about our flag and street furniture so our visible exposure is on hold until approval is sought,'' she said.
"It's funny. We got a call from council on the very same day an elderly gentleman tripped on the uneven footpath and banged his face badly.
"Lots of people would prefer people complained about uneven footpaths or holes in the road rather than our street furniture.''
The new policy might help small businesses like Link and Pin.
The council strategy will focus on street activation, streamlining red tape and improved night offerings.
Peninsula Chamber of Commerce president Mr Matthew Wales said the funding would help to develop and deliver programs that increase retail awareness, improve foot traffic and patronage, access industry information and provide up-skilling opportunities.
"It is also aimed at strengthening advocacy by the local Chamber and improve communication between businesses and council.''
He said street activation and retail centre promotion were important elements to ensuring that retail centres remained attractive and competitive.
The Chamber will have to sign a funding agreement with council outlining specific and quantifiable outcomes that will be reported quarterly to council.
It was one of six Central Coast chambers of commerce to receive money after a council decision on May 13.
The program is required to be implemented from July 1 this year.
Concepts to build on were identified during consultation sessions with representatives from business groups.
For Woy Woy, the area to capitalise on was in commercial and professional services.
For Umina, it was a vibrant street retail offering.
For Ettalong, it was tourism, cafes and restaurants.
For its part, the council will undertake to develop a night time economy strategy to assist business growth.
It will also pursue its "easy to do business approach" to streamline approvals and assessments for new businesses and changes to existing businesses.
It will develop a footpath activation policy to increase opportunities for activate and enliven town centre precincts.
And it will establish a program that assists businesses to promote and market themselves while improving communication and understanding with council.
A new committee will be formed soon.
At its February 11 meeting, council resolved to establish a town centres committee by June 2019. It will consist of interested councillors, relevant council staff and 10 community or business members.
Its job will be to oversee the new town centre management model.
A review of the committee structure will be undertaken by the council within 12 months.
Mr Wales said the new collaborative relationships were an important first step.
"Notwithstanding, there is also the need for Council to take a longer-term review of its town centre infrastructure and make commitments to upgrading our retail centres at Woy Woy, Umina Beach and Ettalong Beach with improved footpath paving, street furniture and landscaping," he said.
"It is essential to the success of strip retail centres that they are pleasant, safe and inviting so that customers will keep returning to local businesses to do their shopping.
"It's been almost 20 years since Council upgraded the Peninsula town centres and the impact of time can be plainly seen with a clear need for a major revamp.
"This is not a cheap exercise but, nonetheless, it needs to be done lest the costs to do so escalate in the future.
"Such commitments are an essential investment in the future of our area and we have asked Council to take this on board in future budget discussions.
"However, the adoption of the Town Centres Development Support Program is a positive step, one which the Peninsula Chamber welcomes, and we look forward to working collaboratively with the Council."
Central Coast Council agenda 3.4, 13 May 2019
Media Statement, 21 May 2019
Matthew Wales, Peninsula Chamber of Commerce
Media Statement, 20 May 2019
Nadeane Fogg, Link and Pin