Armidale Regional Council has approved funding towards the 4 year Mall Vibrancy Plan. While the plan carries some much overdue changes to outdated and underperforming infrastructure, the changes reflect the current administration’s big city mentality, that is, anti-cars. It does nothing to improve accessibility and ultimately foot traffic to East Mall, an issue that many small retailers would regard as the main roadblock (pun intended) to growing business activity in the area.
The key to growing the mall activity ultimately depends on the future council’s ability to grow the town’s population to the critical level needed to support more local businesses. Particular efforts need to be made to grow the youth population who are only too keen to part with their hard earned cash. Growing the youth population is, in principle easy, what’s the one thing the youth really care about? Employment opportunities.
However, in the meantime, the most immediate benefits would come from removing the obvious barriers that hinder both foot traffic through East Mall and the Center Mall area and then focus on building the better infrastructure.