Vibrant Spaces Program


tonyhSun, 29/07/2018 - 5:35pm

Gary Sylvaney's Report on the MCC and Tea Gardens/Hawkes Nest Chambers   Vibrant Spaces Program

Held 12:30 PM Thursday 26th. July 2018.

Whilst the subject of the meeting did not directly affect NAC, I accepted an invitation as an opportunity to gain further insight and understanding of our Councils progress since the amalgamation and restructuring. I was not disappointed. The objective of VIBRANT SPACES is to increase tourism and customer numbers throughout the municipalities shopping precincts by making footpaths outside businesses attractive, interesting and inviting. The concept grew out of the experience of Taree in 1997 when the Pacific Hwy. bypassed the city and commerce over an extended period suffered a serious decline due to the impact of the bypass not being planned for. About 10 years later, Taree Council took positive steps to encourage main street businesses to clean up their presentation standards. Streets were closed for a day to enable shop fronts and their footpaths to be made attractive and inviting. The results achieved were dramatic.

To launch this new program, Mid Coast Council has established an Economic Development Team. Attending the meeting for Council were Robyn Brennan – Economic Development Coordinator, Dennis Christensen – Business Liaison Officer and Belinda Armstrong – Events Liaison Assistant. The concept was explained by MCC this way.

“Our town centres are a place to be entertained, shop, dine and catch up with friends and family. The concept behind Vibrant Spaces is that businesses can use the footpath, free of charge, in return for some innovative thinking and a common-sense approach to adding colour, products, comfortable seating and lively entertainment onto our streets. The aim is to encourage people to stop, linger, shop and dine, which not only benefits local businesses, but makes for a more pleasant shopping experience.”

I observed strong meeting support from retailers and Chamber members for the concept. Interestingly, the Chamber of Commerce President in his opening statement spoke highly of the new Councils approachability and commitment.

The Economic Development Team will also provide advice to businesses and organisations in key areas such as Training and Development, Succession Planning and Financing to facilitate improved business effectiveness.

With over 20 years of my own retail business experience, I congratulate Mid Coast Council for its very positive and outward looking approach to a key employment segment in the Region’s economy.

The meeting was also advised of the release last week of the Economic Development Report on Destination Management Branding designed to increase Tourism by giving the Region a clear identity. Our Region will be known as “The Barrington Coast”. At first, I was less than impressed but after thinking about it, the Barrington’s are like the heart of the Mid Coast Region. In my opinion now, well named.  

It will be interesting to watch for future developments in our nearest MCC shopping areas, Tea Gardens and Hawkes Nest and future tourism related activities across our Region.

For further information, check out Councils website. Access to which is available on the NACRA website,

Gary Sylvaney


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