BUSINESSWOMAN Mel Bailey has welcomed a Singleton Council move to encourage the tidying up of building facades to compliment the $55milllion Gowrie Street Mall redevelopment.
The co-owner of John Street’s First National Max Bailey Real Estate hopes the initiative is favourably received by the business community.
“It makes sence to have pride in your building, presentation is good for individual businesses and the community as a whole,” she said.
A motion to encourage the updating of facades and awnings in John Street, either by cleaning or painting, was raised by Cr Val Scott at this week’s regular council meeting.
It sparked vigorous opposition from councillors Fred Harvison, Lee Gallagher, Godfrey Adamthwaite and Ruth Rogers.
After more than half an hour of debate the four voted against the eventual motion which was broadened to encourage all Singleton shire commercial building owners to tidy up premises in line with the council’s central business district masterplan.
Cr Scott said her motion was aimed to encourage the upgrading of facades and awnings, not just the footpath level of shops, so that passers-by would appreciate the architecture of the buildings.
“Some of the facades are beautiful and others need a bit of a steam clean or a paint,” she said.
“But my idea is about encouraging the building owners, not forcing anyone, encouraging them to brighten up the business district to enhance the whole town and add to the progress we’re seeing with the Gowrie Mall redevelopment.
“Sometimes a gentle reminder can open people’s eyes to things they may not have noticed and this can get the community working together.”
Cr Harvison led the council chambers opposition to Cr Scott’s idea.
He said he did not want the council to be seen as anti-business or to be picking on John Street as there were commercial premises throughout the town.
He said he had spoken to one business person about the idea who said they would not consider it while so much dust and dirt was being thrown up because of the mall redevelopment.
Cr Harvison said the council should not pass on costs to small businesses that were struggling.
He said the council should instead do more street pavement washdowns as he believed there had only been three since the Olympic Games.
The council’s acting assets director, Alan Fletcher said the business district pavement was cleaned twice a year and was about to be cleaned again.
Cr Adamthwaite said he didn’t know what Cr Scott was talking about and suggested the council look at all the sheds and shacks around Singleton that were rented out and houses that needed yard mowing.
Cr Rogers said, that as a small businessswoman herself, she would disregard Cr Scott’s notice. She recently received a $12,500 quote for painting at her permises.
Cr Gallagher saw the motion as a move to “tart up the main street” and believed building owners would be outraged by being told to clean up their act.
Mayor, Sue Moore successfully suggested the encouragement be part of consultation associated with Singleton’s central business district masterplan.
Councillors Alison Howlett, Tony McNamara, Lyn MacBain, Paul Nichols and Maxine Smith supported the motion, saying the encouragement was proactive and would be done in a professional and sympathetic way.