About 50km from Bundaberg Childers CBD (pictured) is booming.
About 50km from Bundaberg Childers CBD (pictured) is booming.

A tale of two regional CBDs

WHILE some Bundaberg CBD businesses may be struggling, about 50km away Childers' CBD is booming.

Childers chamber of commerce committee member Wayne Say said the Childers CBD had been revitalised and was full of life.

"Childers has had a bit of a resurgence in the past six months, in fact I don't think there is one vacant shop in the CBD at the moment," Mr Say said.

He said it hadn't always been like this but they were working to keep it that way.

"I think there is more confidence in the general public and business owners, I hope that's the case and I hope it keeps going," he said.

"Things have been pretty quiet for quite a long time, a lot of people out there are feeling the pinch but the chamber is trying its hardest to enhance the appeal and encourage people to purchase things in Childers."

Mr Say said they were continuously working on their plan to enhance the CBD and encourage people to stop when travelling through the town on the highway.

"We are doing a streetscape project to enhance the buildings and heritage theme, we have had consultations with general public and owners and have engaged a heritage consultant from Hervey Bay hopefully that'll come to fruition," he said.

"Hopefully we will also have a little app so people can go on their own historic trail and see information on each of the shops."

Elliott's Bookshop owner Alastair Elliott has moved from the CBD to Barolan Plaza.
Elliott's Bookshop owner Alastair Elliott has moved from the CBD to Barolan Plaza.

On the other hand, owner of Elliott's Bookshop in Bundaberg, Alastair Elliott said moving his shop out of the CBD had helped due to the lower rent.

"I am concerned that the CBD is, to put it bluntly, dying, and to see that Dimmeys, Mia Bella Jewellery, and Vast Interiors going, it's not good for the main street," Mr Elliott said.

"I counted between Barolin intersection and Tantitha intersection including two little side streets about 76 empty shops or offices.

"Unfortunately in the CBD rents were too high and that's what you expect when it is far too expensive, which is unfortunate, and that is something the landlords and council need to look at."

Mr Elliott also shared the impact he saw from the lack of parking.

"The move (to Barolan Plaza) has gone very well the parking is absolutely magnificent, it is open and airy and a lot of fun," he said.

"Previously it was very difficult and too far for some customers to find a park in the CBD and walk, but here you can park right outside and spend 2-3 hours browsing."

President of the Bundaberg Chamber of Commerce Tim Sayre said it was a tough situation but they were working to improve the CBD.

"We realise there is a long way to go and it is sad to see businesses closing," Mr Sayre said.

"In the CBD and in business in general we have seen a lot of stores struggling.

"We have seen retail across the state struggling, if not the country, which is why chamber is involved in the Love Bundy program."