Our CBD Meeting Report: 31 August 2017

Cuba Street Challenges

Councillor Nicola Young asked for ideas to re-stimulate Cuba Mall and Upper Cuba St, saying that with Farmers closed, the lengthy re-paving work going on, and the demise of 3 parking buildings close by that this area needs a ‘shot in the arm’.  One suggestion was a celebration when the re-paving is complete.

A Very Welly Christmas

Plans for the event in Lambton Quay 25-26 November are well advanced.  It was stressed that retail involvement is critical but that for this to happen the parking issues of last year need to be resolved.  The problem…with Lambton Quay closed to traffic the one-way streets leading into this area had also become ‘no parking’ zones because of the perceived difficulties of turning around to head back out when leaving.  It’s clear that a solution needs to be found because if the public think that parking is going to be difficult they won’t participate.  Thoughts and solutions are needed.  One idea was that free parking on the outskirts of the city be provided, with continuous free shuttle buses into the CBD.

WOW

Planning for WOW has been finalised and it has the makings of a huge event for the city once again.  The focus this year is on the ‘love story’ between WOW and Wellington City.  The material looks great and the marketing collateral for retailers will be distributed from September 7.  If you have registered but not received any material by this time contact the organisers.

An email conformation will be sent to participating retailers and September 18 is D-Day for the window displays to be complete.

Hospitality operators are looking to link up with retailers to offer vouchers, in-store treats, drinks for visitors and the like, to get some cross promotion going.

Let’s Get Welly Moving

Barry Mein, manager for this project explained that a range of ‘bundled ideas’ or possible scenarios will be put to the public in November as part of the consultation process.  He acknowledged that one of the major issues for retailers and other business operators in the CBD was going to be the pressure on car-parking and said that we would need to keep a close eye on this.  

He said that while a reduction in traffic is a desirable long-term goal we need to be sure that the short-term pain isn’t simply dumped on the retail sector.  We have to remember that CBD retailers compete first and foremost with the regional malls who offer free and virtually unlimited parking. We don’t want the current supporters of the CBD voting with their wheels.  It was suggested that fringe, free parking and free regular shuttle buses might be part of the solution.

Night Welfare Zone

Sarah Webb from ICW presented on this initiative saying that it was a great idea and deserved our support.  She said the plan was to set up a ‘support’ area in the CBD where young people can take time out or seek help for alcohol issues, transport home, etc.  The zone will be set up outside of the Opera House with the more intensive ‘help’ area being in a pop-up inside.  The support team will include ambulance staff and social workers.  The programme has been set up as a charitable trust and has a couple of key sponsors to get it started.  It will be trialled for 6 months from late October.

Eyes On

This prevention-first programme has been running for 2 years and now takes in several suburban shopping centres, Tawa being the latest addition.  Alf Sawyer from police noted that retail theft in the inner city is down and credited the success of Eyes On as contributing to this, as well as providing them with additional intelligence.

Paperboy

An Auckland initiative that is about to be trialled in Wellington, it is a free weekly magazine style newspaper which aims to build ‘urbanism conversations’ and set a brand position for the CBD.  Distribution will commence in late October and run for a month. The publishers will then assess the advertising support and reader feedback, and decide on its future in Wellington.

Connecting Retail and Hospitality

Jeremy Smith from the Hospitality NZ said that they were really keen to link their members efforts with those of the retail sector in the CBD to see what can be achieved through joint activity, eg discounts for staff members, retailers handing out food and beverage vouchers to their customers, and just essentially any form of cross promotion. Retail and hospitality, he said have many customers in common, so why not utilise these links to promote each other’s businesses?

As always, a productive meeting with plenty of food for thought, feedback needed, thoughts and ideas, but most importantly some very real opportunities to seize.