10 April 2012

Canberra CBD gets another three years

| johnboy
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The Summary of Cabinet Outcomes for 26 March has an interesting tidbit:

City Centre Marketing and Improvements Grant

Cabinet agreed to renew the City Centre Marketing and Improvements Grant and reappoint Canberra CBD Limited to administer the Grant for an additional three years. The Grant is funded through an amendment to the Rates Act 2004, introduced in 2006. Revenue collected from the levy is used to promote, maintain and improve the amenity of the Civic area. The Explanatory Statement is available on the ACT Legislation Register.

Canberra CBD runs the In The City website, organises various skating based events, and promotes their buddies.

In exchange for this they get a cut of rates paid by landowners in Civic and Braddon.

Or in their words:

The Company’s constitutional objectives are:

a) To market and maintain the City Centre as the premier retail, lifestyle and commercial district in the ACT, and

b) To do everything in support of that objective, including:

1. having a strategic business plan that sets out priorities for marketing and maintaining the City Centre to a high standard that is appropriate to the commercial and social needs of the community

2. marketing activities to position the City Centre as the premier retail, lifestyle and commercial district in the ACT, including activities to market the City Centre as a place to do business

3. events and promotions that support the positioning of the City Centre by
— supporting the retail sector
— activating public and private spaces to create a safe street life culture
— contributing to the safe use of the City Centre by day and by night, and
— enhancing its reputation as the dynamic heart of Canberra

4. a public enhancement program that provides for investment in key public areas beyond the maintenance and related services expected of the ACT Government before the levy was introduced (for example, the forthcoming refurbishment of the West Row Park; floral baskets throughout the city centre in summer, and caged bin enclosures for rubbish collection)

5. providing services that encourage commercial property owners to maintain their properties in the City to a high standard of presentation (for example, a cleaning and grafitti removal program; murals on key City walls)

6. liaising with government and its agencies and authorities to achieve coordinated outcomes, and

7. raising funds, including procuring grant funding, to support Canberra CDB Limited’s objectives.

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Looking at the Board membership of Canberra CBD and their staff it seems to just be another arm of the Property Council. It would be interesting to know how they manage their various conflicts of interests when awarding grants …

However, keeps alive a happy Canberra tradition of keeping the citizenry out of any organisation that can make decisions about spending rate-payers funds (or in fact any decision-making body at all).

On what basis did the ACT government make this decision? No doubt a decision made in “cabinet” renders unlikely full public disclosure so are we left to guesswork and suspicions?

It’s a bit tough blaming the vacancy rate on anything but a long-overdue-but-of-course-gone-too far explosion in retail space.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back3:45 pm 10 Apr 12

Of course the vacancy rate is rising – the new stuff is all at the airport!

And since its inception, the vacancy rate in Civic has gone from about 5% to 25% and rising.

Money well spent then.

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