Where to for the Bridge Mall: reader ideas
We read with interest the proposed changes to Bridge Street Mall. Before the council even considers looking at opening up the mall to traffic, they really need to look at many other cities who have tried this. Then they will find that opening it to traffic will only lead to more disaster for the businesses. The loss of income due to the road works will outweigh any so-called benefit. Businesses still have to pay their rent and wages while this construction goes ahead, which means shoppers will not shop there while the construction is happening.
Shoppers then find other places to shop and never return to the mall long term. Townsville Qld is an example. The mall was opened up to traffic a few years ago. Business went broke during the construction of the road and despite the mall being opened up, it still sufferers exactly the same problems it did before it was opened. Cars park during the day for 2 hours and then move to another spot but no one shops there long term.
Crime, and homeless people still exist there and it is still an unpleasant place to go. A few cafes have opened but other stores have closed so it has not advanced the city centre at all. Another example is Brisbane Queen Street mall. One big mall area where people can eat, drink and shop, and during winter the businesses supply heating outdoors so you can relax, shop and eat during the winter months. Outdoor eating in winter exists in Canberra in the Civic Centre and is shut off to cars and heating is supplied for the outdoor experience.
The mall just needs cleaning up and a more diverse range of shops for a full shopping experience. More outdoor dining so in summer the sun can be enjoyed, and in winter provide heaters for the outdoor experience. Security certainly needs improving but unfortunately that is a modern day problem that exists everywhere.
The mall is a wonderful place and full of history. While Ballarat expands and the council allows huge shopping centres to thrive at the expense of the mall, business in the mall will continue to suffer. So come on Ballarat, enjoy and support the mall and give the council a reason to improve it.
Don't allow them to open it to traffic. Once Bridge Street Mall is gone, it's gone. The money spent to open it up will never be regained. Putting some money into improving what is already there will pay off in the long run. The old saying "you don't know what you had until it's gone" is so true of Bridge street Mall.
Shane and Christine Malone, Brown Hill
The council has suggested putting a roof over the mall. I think the only way to draw people to the mall is to enclose it to the weather, and convert it to a market right down the whole of the mall with all the shops becoming speciality shops. I can envisage hawker stalls and a multi cultural food hall and stalls with local produce from our local farmers. Convert a couple of the empty shops into fishmongers where the people of Ballarat can buy cheaper fresh seafood.
You only have to look at trash and treasure to see how popular a market is, and if Bridge Mall was all under cover, I think it would bring people from here as well as surrounding areas, i.e. Ararat.
I know many people travel to melbourne to go to the markets; that's all money that's not being spent here. I can envisage stalls with bright umbrellas down the whole length off the mall and the ratepayers would see something that is for every person in Ballarat. I have written to the council and they have said that they can see a need for an all-weather market. Here's their chance to 'kill two birds with one stone'.
It will bring the people back to the mall and also give us the chance to shop in a massive undercover and safe area.
Evelyn Cunningham, Wendouree
Having worked in Ballarat’s CBD for over 40 years as a pharmacist and pharmacy manager, I was dismayed to read reports in Saturday’s Courier some ideas for revitalising the Bridge Mall shopping precinct. I do agree that it is suffering with all the new areas for consumers to shop and it does need a facelift.
As manager of the Bridge Mall UFS Dispensary for 20 years along with iconic businesses which have been there for years, I was most disappointed to read the suggestion of opening The Mall again to traffic. I was at the Dispensary before the mall was closed to traffic and remember the trouble drivers had parking, particularly as it was parallel parking and finding a park was so difficult. With improved parking in the car parks to the North and South of the Mall it is one of the best places to shop in Ballarat and with an update of new businesses , and maybe Out of Town Property Owners charging smaller rentals, it is sure to bring back customers to a safe and friendly area.
A covered shopping Mall is an idea too, but I think the Ballarat City Council should consider other options to revitalise our Mall and Norwich Plaza is a good place to start, by at least starting the Clock.
Annie Smail, Alfredton.