COUNCILLORS and traders want to see Bendigo’s CBD revitalised.
Crs Peter Cox, James Williams and Lisa Ruffell met Bendigo Downtown Traders Association president Ross White and several others at the Town Hall last night.
Cr Cox said he wanted to see a new plan addressing concerns with the area created.
He said he would continue to oppose large retail developments that didn’t include a residential component and that he was concerned by businesses opening in homes outside the CBD.
Mr White said he would also like to see more residential developments in the heart of the city and that retailers were funding it tough.
“We need to bring people back into town,” he said.
“We need to work out how to do that.
“There are a lot of two- and three-storey buildings in Bendigo that go to waste.
“The CBD has got so much potential.”
Cr Ruffell said it was an issue on which everyone needed to have input.
“We need all the main players around the table to sit down and nut it out,” she said.
“Why can’t we talk to the federal and state governments and try to get the penalty rates lower so shops can open up?
“We need a conscious effort to have shops open seven days a week.
“We need this discussion, but the traders need to also help themselves.”
Cr Williams said it didn’t make sense for university students to live in three-bedroom homes with gardens when smaller apartments would suit better.
“I got elected talking about urban strategy and how we grow Bendigo,” he said.
“That strategy includes high-rise apartments.”
Cr Cox said he would also like to see a private developer use the Beehive Building.
Zoo Cafe owner Rory Somerville said he was concerned that food vans were taking trade away from shops and asked if the council could review its itinerant traders laws.
Cr Cox said the council had “no intention” of doing a CBD plan, but that he believed one was needed.
Those at the Whipstick Ward meeting also discussed recycling, drainage, the council’s independent review and waste management.