City heart-to-heart talk
BUSINESS leaders from the Tweed Shire paid Lismore City Council a visit last week keen to pick up some pointers on its successful CBD revitalisation project, Come to the Heart.
Tweed Heads Chamber of Commerce president Rory Curtis travelled with Toni Zuschke from the Murwillumbah District Chamber of Commerce and Don Neale from the Kingscliff Chamber of Commerce to meet with Lismore Business Promotion Panel chair Brent McAlister, City Centre manager Renee Moehead and Art in the Heart co-ordinator Stephen Nelson.
"We came down to look at the structure of the business committee and to see how the funding is promoted and levied," Mr Curtis said.
"We see the promotion and the advertising of Lismore up there via the television and we're interested to see if we do a similar thing in Tweed. We don't have a business levy in place and we're obviously looking for some economic development ideas to try to stimulate business."
Mr McAlister said the Lismore team was more than happy to show the Tweed contingent "how things are done here in Lismore", having already delivered a keynote address at the International Cities and Town Centres Conference held in Surfers Paradise in October last year.
"The interest we had at this conference, and subsequently from the Tweed Chambers of Commerce and other town centres since, is further evidence of what the independent Southern Cross University review of the promotional program pointed out recently, namely that the program and approach is best practice," Mr McAlister said.
Based on that report, Lismore City Council voted unanimously this month to apply for a five-year extension to the business rate variation levy which funds the project.
Mr Zuschke said Murwillumbah had much to gain from a Come to the Heart-style campaign.
"Murwillumbah really does need to have a combined effort promoting itself as a destination," he said.
"Something like this would not only bring the community together to shop locally, but also the businesses. If we were all rowing the boat in the same direction instead of everyone going off doing their own little piece of marketing, we could collectively promote the town as a whole."