Warrnambool needs a new retail strategy, councillor Mike Neoh says.
Councillor Neoh, who is seeking re-election, said the city needed to consider how to encourage investment and promote expansion over the next two decades.
"Given significant retail trends and activity has occurred over the past 15 years, it is time to take stock and reimagine the retail, tourism, hospitality and commercial development for the next 20 years," Cr Neoh said.
He said there had been a focus on the CBD in the existing strategy, but the city had a number of shopping precincts including recent additions such as Northpoint Shopping Centre and Dennington Shopping Centre.
"Whilst there has been significant development in the CBD, eastern precinct and in pockets in the west and north, there now needs to be an umbrella strategy to develop a comprehensive city-wide plan that looks at retail/commercial development, hospitality and accommodation and tourism linked to the promotion of Warrnambool as a destination," Cr Neoh said.
"Such a plan will help drive Warrnambool as a 'lifestyle choice' to drive residential and commercial development and create jobs, particularly post COVID."
Cr Neoh said the council also needed to have land available for further development to allow other retail outlets to open in the city.
In addition to that, the council needs to look at releasing more land for housing and expanding its growth boundaries.
"In the past the CBD has been considered the primary retail centre but we need a strategy that promotes the whole retail precinct," he said.
Cr Neoh said it was not about marketing one particular centre or precinct, but ensuring visitors are aware of all of the shopping opportunities in the city.
"If we get them to Warrnambool, everyone benefits," he said.
Cr Neoh said he was also keen for the council to promote Warrnambool as a stand-alone destination, rather than a city at the end of popular tourist attraction the Great Ocean Road.
He said he no longer wanted Warrnambool to be seen as a "poor cousin" to the Great Ocean Road.
"I think we've put a lot of resources into promoting the Great Ocean Road and with COVID and reduced numbers I think we need to pivot and purely promote Warrnambool as a destination," Cr Neoh said.
He said it was not a time to "roll the dice" and hope people will extend their trip to the Great Ocean Road by visiting Warrnambool.
"That's not going to cut it post COVID," Cr Neoh said.
"I think we need to invest our money in promoting Warrnambool and other towns such as Port Fairy."
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