Cairns Regional Council commissioned the city centre review as part of a suite of initiatives to contribute to the ongoing success of the Cairns City Centre.
The consultants undertook a series of business audits, hard data reviews and stakeholder engagement activities to understand the current trader and community sentiment and baseline business information.The aim of the report was to:
- Identify the issues (if any) impacting commercial trading conditions in the Cairns City Centre.
- Identify trends in commercial activity relevant to the Cairns City Centre.
- Make recommendations to Council on the action Council can take to support continued commercial activation in the Cairns City Centre, including addressing any issues identified above.
The resulting report was noted by Council at its Ordinary Meeting on February 26 2020.
Council officers will use the report as a basis to develop a plan of actions to be considered by the new Council following the March 2020 elections.
At a glance
The report found that trading and activation levels in the Cairns City Centre have been adversely impacted by a number of factors including:
- Global macro trends placing downward pressure on high street retail.
- Growing trend for primary retail centres to be located in standalone shopping centres.
- Comparatively (when compared to other city centres) low levels of residential population density in the Cairns City Centre.
The Urbis report noted that key Council initiatives, implemented or ongoing, include:
- The appointment of Council’s full time Central Business District (CBD) Place Manager in August 2019.
- Amendment of Council’s parking regulations to provide free on street parking in the city centre on Saturdays after 2pm and all day on Sundays.
- Implementation, in collaboration with other stakeholders, of the Sunday on Shields activation program of events between August and October 2019 aimed at driving more visitation to the city centre.
- Continued support for a range of events and activities aimed at increasing visitation to the city centre including Ironman Cairns, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Festival Cairns 2019, Targa Great Barrier Reef and 7 Cairns Marathon Festival.