Kiama Council has received $20,000 from the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund to help investigate ways of reactivating central Kiama.
The funding, to be matched dollar-for-dollar by Council, is expected to provide valuable information to be used in already announced strategic planning initiatives for the Kiama CBD.
On announcing the funding, the Federal Member for Gilmore, Ann Sudmalis, said, “This is a proactive strategy by the Kiama Council.
“The Council’s approach is to stay in front of the pack, stay relevant, and to do so requires market research.”
According to Council’s Economic Development Manager, Megan Hutchison, the application for funding was entitled Kiama: the making of a place to work, rest and play, and the project has two aspects.
“The first is really a ‘place making’ activity relating to the Kiama CBD. It will look at what is happening now and how the area can be revitalised to provide a place that visitors and locals will be attracted to using, with a focus on developing the night time economy.
“Importantly, it is about creating better spaces for the community to interact, because when the tourists are gone the community still needs to utilise spaces to keep businesses viable, as they are the ones in the cooler months that keep the economy ticking over.
“In a way it needs to be a community activation plan as well. The proposed arts centre is one area that will form a key part of the town centre activation because there will be a lot of spaces there for community use.”
There will be extensive community consultation during the project, to establish what residents want out of their town centre.
The second aspect of the project is to undertake a commercial market assessment to evaluate the future demand for retail, industrial and commercial spaces in Kiama town centre to make sure the needs of business are incorporated into town plans.
“By knowing what the future demand is going to be for spaces, we can start to plan areas for those activities,” says Ms Hutchison.
She says other Council departments will be closely involved with the project.
“All of the information gathered during this process will feed into the development of a Town Centre Masterplan, which is a project of the Planning Committee,” says Ms Hutchison.
“We will also be working very closely with Council’s strategic planning department and Destination Kiama.”