Cityprom has attracted criticism from several Launceston businesses.
The body was described by Cocobean owner Theresa Streefland as potentially having no relevance to retailers anymore, a view she said was held by many business owners.
According to Cityprom’s mission statement, the association is responsible for creating vibrancy and foot traffic in Launceston’s central business district by “[bringing] together city retailers, professional offices and civic authorities to ensure the city centre remains the focal point of Launceston”.
Cityprom chief executive Steve Henty defended the body’s new strategic direction as being endorsed by the City of Launceston council.
“Our approach to create a vibrant CBD is in its infancy, but very much based around proven and evidence-based strategies that deliver people into the city,” Mr Henty said.
“Research shows us that the number-one factor in cities that have successfully gone through revitalisation is around inner-city living.
“Our component around that is, ‘what do people need to live in the city?’”
The body claims a compulsory annual levy from each business located in the CBD to “ensure that the city maintains its position as the regional hub for shopping, dining and professional services”, according to its 2017 Member Kit.
I wonder if Cityprom still has relevancy in the city, because they don’t seem to do much.Cocobean owner Theresa Streefland
The levy, which can’t be opted-out of, comes from rates paid to the City of Launceston council.
Ms Streefland said retailers talk a lot about the waning usefulness of Cityprom.
“We’ve never even seen the new guy [Mr Henty] from Cityprom,” she said. “I wonder if Cityprom still has relevancy in the city, because they don’t seem to do much.”
Daisy Fresh owner Matthew Bowen said he wasn’t happy with how the association was run and Balls n Bumpers owner Jane Freeman said Cityprom needed to organise more events through the year.
“Cityprom do the best they can, with the limited resources they have, but they really need to bring more events … and people to the city and get things like Crazy Day revamped again,” Ms Freeman said.
“We’d all like them to do more.”
Cityprom recently has worked with the council to create the City Heart project, which included the refurbishment of the Brisbane Street mall.
Launceston acting mayor Rob Soward defended the body.
“Cityprom initiatives, like the annual Christmas tree lighting, Fiesta on George and ... its support for the establishment of the Launceston Night Market, have proven incredibly popular,” he said.
“The organisation plays a significant role in Launceston.”