Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Closure of David Jones

The closure of the David Jones store in the Citycentre of Newcastle this weekend is further evidence that Newcastle's Revitalisation strategy may be wrong.‏

The letter enclosed was published in the Newcastle Herald recently and answered by Councillor Buman but he missed the point that David Jones had been trading in the area for more than 50 years and GPT was never more than a vision.

Please look at the enclosed Herald cutting from 1988 establishing the Citycentre and the Local Rate.

The City has been aggressively hammering the same rail target for more than twenty years.

Yet City Rail has been bringing the same number of passengers to the city with a modest increase every year at no cost whatsoever to the city ratepayers.

The visions of rail removal are just visions unless there is an economically viable replacement.

The citycentre local rate mentioned in the article has been collected for revitalisation probably to the tune of many millions of dollars with little effect.

By 1992 $399.000 plus was being collected annually.

Is there something wrong with our revitalisation strategy? The loss of David Jones may be evidence of that.

I ask each and every Councillor to examine: are funds being collected by the CBD Local Rate and how are they being expended?

Letters Editor
Newcastle Herald

Friday, 28 January 2011

Dear Editor,

RE: The closure of the David Jones store in the Citycentre.

The closure of the David Jones store in the Citycentre of Newcastle is evidence that Newcastle’s Revitalisation strategy lost its way.

Newcastle has been revitalising in earnest for twenty years now. The news report of June 1988 summarised the revitalisation vision that Honeysuckle embraced in their approved scheme four years later.

“Newcastle’s central business district (CBD) was renamed Citycentre and aggressively promoted, with money raised by way of a local rate.  High-rise apartments a privately funded Technical College with fee-paying students from overseas and federal offices were among the high priority proposals aimed at getting the City back on its feet”. An extra department store was to be established but now there is to be none.

It seems that far too much hope and money has been expended on pursuing ponzi visions of railway removal rather than sound incremental commercial development.

Ratepayers may ask has the money collected from the local rate for revitalisation been wisely spent.

Doug Lithgow

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