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Tania Macfarlane, second from left, chairperson of a Timaru CBD Group subcommittee advancing the Business Improvement District proposal, with group members, from left, Di Hay, Allan Booth (chair), Brent Birchfield, and Sue Harrex in Stafford St in January.
CBD landlords and tenants have voted to establish a levy-funded collaborative scheme which aims to breathe more life into Timaru’s CBD.
The voting period for the Timaru CBD Group Business Improvement District (BID) project poll closed at noon on Tuesday, with the final result showing 93 votes supporting the proposal – 65.03%, and 50 votes against – 34.97%.
However, there is still one final hurdle with the Timaru District Council now required to give the green light for the BID’s establishment.
The percentage of votes cast by land valuation was 74.69%, with 25.31% against, while the breakdown of votes by capital valuation was 75.74% for, and 24.26% against.
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The overall voting return for the poll was 66.20%, higher than the 2022 local body elections in the Timaru District where 49.22% of those eligible to vote did so.
As well as indicating those eligible to vote on the future of Timaru’s CBD could hold strong opinions on the matter, the turnout well exceeded the council’s BID policy requiring a minimum turnout of 25%.
The CBD Group had pushed the BID initiative since 2017, following public consultation by Venture Timaru with the Timaru District Council which added the proposal to its Long Term Plan in 2021.
Timaru CBD Group chairman Allan Booth said he was delighted by the level of support .
“We see this as a significant milestone for the CBD and will now be working with the council to finalise the process,’’ he said.
“For the Timaru CBD, it means we’ll have a strong collective voice working hard for the businesses in the area to ensure that we have a thriving, attractive and bustling town centre for everyone to enjoy.”
The BID spread from the Bay Hill to North St and along Stafford St, with some surrounding side streets included.
There were 218 property owners who were eligible to vote. To be eligible, properties had to be commercially-rated.
Since being developed in Canada, BIDs had been adopted by business districts around the world. Auckland had 50.
Booth said in other cities in New Zealand, BIDs had been used effectively for promotion, advocacy, and cosmetic improvements.
They had also been used to address issues around security, employment, transport, business networking and environmental performance.
A BID could develop its own website or other promotional tools to attract customers or businesses to their town centre. The levy that funded the BID in Timaru would be collected through the council’s rating system and passed on to the BID organisation to fund its activities.
“The next step will be for the council to give the green light to establishing the BID.
“We’ve already submitted a draft strategy for the BID including a proposed budget and outline of the work to be undertaken, with a plan for the next three years,” Booth said.
“The BID policy requires us to work closely with the council and keep up good communication, which will mean regular reporting on the work that’s getting done.”