Warragul isn’t a big town, but it’s growing. And with growth comes some pain.
In response to increasingly limited car parking in the town’s CBD, Baw Baw Shire recently upped the frequency of parking patrols across the region. This means the likelihood of drivers actually being fined for spending all day in a one-hour space is much greater.
When we ran a story about this online we had some very strong reactions from our audience.
Many responses were positive, but the most popular comment on our Facebook post about the change was “Fountain Gate, Pakenham Plaza, Moe Kmart, here we come for Christmas shopping!”
Has parking in Baw Baw really become so bad as to warrant a 45-minute drive to a place you could end up parking on the fringe of anyway?
Has our interest in local traders really degraded to the point that enforcing parking restrictions is enough to drive us away? All day spaces are an easy 10 minute or less walk from the middle of our towns and usually have spaces available.
I get it, shopping centres have stores and amenities we don’t have on Baw Baw’s streets. I’m also not for a moment suggesting we make the Buy Local campaign some kind of cult. But we must remember we have some great, modern stores in our region which are very easily accessible.
And most importantly, our retailers need our help. Speaking to many bricks-and-mortar store owners recently actually made me concerned. For many smaller, independent, family businesses the downturn is worsening and they’re really doing it tough. Stories of transition also featured prominently at this week’s Baw Baw Business Networking Function.
Of course, retailers need to be proactive in this transitioning economy. Old school business management isn’t going to work, but old fashioned service will.
Demand for a new shopping experiences is clearly present in the community, and even little things like retailers not parking outside their own storefront all day could help keep money in the local economy.
Our local businesses are a great resource and keep the economy going. They put kids in jobs and support community groups. So if you plan to skip over them, maybe give them another look.
After all, they’re only down the street.
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