Empty shopfronts are the target of a Mount Gambier councillor as tough economic times for businesses leaves more CBD spaces untenanted.

Key points:

  • A Mount Gambier councillor has taken aim at the rising number of empty shops in town
  • He is calling for a minimum standard to store fronts and to reduce the size of the CBD
  • The local Chamber of Commerce says the growing number is a significant concern for them

Councillor Ben Hood has called on the City of Mount Gambier to develop a policy for minimum shopfront quality standards.

He said he was concerned that the number of empty stores is turning customers and tourists away from Mount Gambier’s attractions.

“This problem of empty shopfronts and untenanted buildings, it isn’t something that is unique to Mount Gambier, it is across the state and across the country,” Cr Hood said.

“But my hope is that council can take the lead in fostering an important strategy for the city.

“We can work with landlords, work with business owners, work with community groups and also commercial real estate agents to figure out how we can help to increase the look and the amenities of our CBD.

“A CBD should be a destination — it should be vibrant — we should be having events and things like street art to encourage people to come into the CBD to use it as a community space.”

Cr Hood is calling for minimum standards for empty shop fronts, such as the removal of old signage.(ABC South East SA: Grace Whiteside)

Cr Hood suggested that the council could set minimum standards for untenanted buildings to lift the city’s appearance.

“Minimum standards could be just the removal of old signage, ensuring that the glass on the shop front is clean and if you can see inside, that it is free of rubbish and mail,” Cr Hood said.

Cr Hood has raised concerns about unsightly empty shopfronts.(ABC South East SA: Grace Whiteside)

“Irrespective of whether the landlords are local or if they live away … I believe that it is emboldened [and that] it is important for all of the community to put forward a positive and good-looking face for Mount Gambier.”

Concern from Chamber of Commerce

The Mount Gambier Chamber of Commerce president said empty shop fronts had been appearing “more and more” over the past five years.

President Hayley Neumann said the group had hosted workshops for the local community in past years, but faced challenges when no one put their hand up to volunteer.

Hayley Neumann says the rising number of empty shops around the city is a concern for the Chamber.(Supplied: Hayley Neumann)

“It’s really important that we try and do something about it, rather than just be one of the other towns,” Ms Neumann said.

Ms Neumann said Cr Hood’s suggestion to restrict the size of the CBD to make the concentrated business central more vibrant could work.

Ms Neumann says empty shops are not a good look for any town.(ABC South East SA: Grace Whiteside)

“It definitely has grown, so let’s restrict that a little bit and bring more people into the centre,” she said.

“When we want visitors coming through our city they want to enjoy the experience and seeing empty shops is not enjoyable for anyone.”


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