Web_xWonthaggi4113HOW do you think things are going along in Wonthaggi? Sure, we’ve attracted many of the big name retailers in recent years, with more on the way and there’s little doubt that we’ve managed to stop some of the customer migration to centres like Fountain Gate while attracting others.

But how has that affected the smaller retailers and business operators? What about the big, old Coles store that’s been left vacant in Watt Street? What’s going to happen to that? Maybe it could be picked up by the shire as a permanent home for the library and additional office space? But what about that well-known eye-sore, the old bakery in the Watt Street carpark? And what about the other vacant and underutilised shops and premises in town? Is that a concern? There’s also the comments we hear from time to time about the much-maligned Bass Coast Shire Council planning department. Have they been a barrier to growth, especially where the town’s new residential subdivisions are concerned, or have they simply been constrained by the State’s complicated planning regulations?

If you’ve ever had a view on any of these things or you’re simply interested in the future of Wonthaggi’s central business district, and generally in the local economy, you should definitely come along to the ‘Re-invigorate Wonthaggi’ forum this Wednesday night, October 9, starting at 6.30pm at the Wonthaggi Workmen’s Club (Kirrak Room). The plan is to kick off with some scene setting comments by Wonthaggi Business Association President Malcolm Beasley and some opening remarks and stats by the shire’s economic development manager Peter Francis, then it will be over to you to come up with the ideas. The WBA and the shire is looking for a cohesive action plan that it can take to the State Government for funding and proposals which lead to jobs and private sector investment can attract strong government and local government support.

So what does Wonthaggi need? What are the priorities? If you’re in business in town, you should be at this meeting. Most of the shire’s senior managers will also be there and while it’s not supposed to be anti-shire session, in fact they’re paying for the facilitator, the venue and supper afterwards, you should be able to get answers to reasonable questions. But this is about having a say in the direction Wonthaggi is taking and it’s an opportunity not to be missed.