IN light of your July 23 editorial and surveys by your paper of Junction Court users, I think your readers should understand the background of the decision to redevelop and reopen the area to one-way traffic.
Since its construction, Junction Court and its surrounds have been impacted by antisocial behaviour and poor retail activity. There are currently a number of vacant premises in the Junction Court precinct which results from a regular turnover of tenants. While not derived from such properties council still expects timely payment of high rates and charges.
Many towns and cities in Australia have experienced similar results from the construction of such malls and many councils have either removed or redesigned their malls to successfully overcome these problems.
Junction Court also acts as an impediment to the free movement of pedestrians and vehicles between the old CBD and Nowra Fair.
There is still a stigma attached to the area and many people regard it as a no-go site because of the antisocial behaviour that still does exist.
In 2009, a petition which was signed by 30 business and property owners located within the area was presented to the mayor and deputy mayor of the council requesting the mall be redeveloped and reopened to one-way traffic. The council under Mayor Paul Green agreed to the request. The redevelopment of Junction Court was to be stage one of the master plan for the upgrading of the Nowra CBD.
Since coming to power, Mayor Gash and some of her like-minded councillors have endeavoured to prevent the reopening of the mall to traffic. Her group believes that yet another social experiment is worth undertaking, regardless of the risk of failure being repeated. Can or should business and property owners be expected to bear the risk? At no time have the business or property owners been consulted or informed of proposed plans for the area by the Gash-led council.
The debate over the reopening was taken to the CBD Action committee in October 2013. The committee members include professionals from outside council as well as councillors and council staff. After considerable discussion, the committee voted 14 to four in favour of reopening Junction Court to limited one-way traffic. The following council meeting on October 22, 2013 voted eight to five in favour of the reopening, again after lengthy debate.
Given the Mayor agrees that we are a democratic society and the vote has been taken, and the reopening has been completed, let’s get on with refining the new mall where necessary and make it work.
There is no doubt that Nowra is in need of a passive recreation area to relax, eat lunch or just talk … but not in the middle of the main street that should link the city’s two main commercial areas.
Mayor Gash stated in a recent article that I was behind the times with my thinking. Given my experiences over the period since the construction of the mall, the financial losses by many business and property owners in the area since and my studies of malls in other cities and countries, I suspect that I am at least knowledgeable as she is on this matter.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.