Renewed hope for city centre businesses
POSITIVE impacts are already being felt in the city's CBD following the completion of works earlier this week.
Traffic is flowing and the return of parking spaces and outdoor dining is great for businesses.
"We're excited about having customers come back into the city centre. It'll probably take a little bit for it to get back to normal but it is already starting to move," Blue Balloon Cafe owner Loretta Pozar said.
"We are looking forward to a great spring and summer. The worst is over so we are really happy."
"The best thing for Coffs" was how one local labelled the city's works.
Diane Childs has lived in Coffs Harbour for about 30 years.
Sitting outside and looking around at the CBD, Ms Childs said the enhancements provided "a touch of the city and a touch of class that we have so needed".
"I think this is the best decision they have ever made," she said.
"Commiserations to the proprietors of the shops, but I really think in the long term they are going to benefit from it," Ms Childs said.
Valerie Jackson described herself as a dedicated town shopper who managed to adapt her shopping habits during the works.
She pointed out many were unable to tailor their shopping habits and emphasised more could have been done to entice customers into the CBD.
Strategies attracting customers back into the CBD were discussed at a forum between business owners and the CBD Masterplan Committee on Wednesday.
Committee chairman Rod McKelvey described it as an hour and a half of positive chat discussing ways to reactivate the CBD.
"There are several activities that are going to be in the CBD between now and Christmas and the plan is to market those and try and get as much participation as possible," Mr McKelvey said.
Nine of about 32 business representatives in attendance raised their hands when the committee asked them who was in favour of the activation plan.
One of those was Caffeine Central owner Kym Watson.
"We are happy to be part of the activation program and we will participate and promote the others as well," Ms Watson said.
She hopes the council and the parties involved will provide sufficient resources to be able to market the CBD effectively.
Don Kennedy, of Kennedy's Jewellers, wasn't sold on the strategy.
"We need to think of a bigger overall strategy," Mr Kennedy said.
"It's not just our businesses that have been affected, it's the whole street. Why don't they listen to the whole street? Why does the street have to come up with more money to advertise?"
Fletchers Fotographics owner Warwick Kither was disappointed the committee didn't acknowledge its management faults during the works, which left businesses hurting.
Mr Kither said an acknowledgement would help create an understanding to help the businesses move forward.