Corangamite business operators should act quickly to apply for a Business Façade Improvement Program (BFIP). Applications for the $50,000 2021-2022 program close at 9 am, Monday 9 August.
This is the seventh annual round of façade funding but now businesses not on the main street of a Shire town are also eligible. They can apply for up to $3000
(exc. GST) on a $1:$1 basis.
Mayor Ruth Gstrein said slow trade during the coronavirus restrictions might make it a good time for businesses to jump-start the economic recovery with a shopfront makeover.
“When the lockdowns are lifted, people will be really keen to get out of the city and we can expect to see more domestic visitors. Attractive shopping strips in our towns will entice more people to stop and spend,” she said.
Manager Growth and Engagement Rory Neeson said, through the façade program last year Council worked with 23 businesses across seven towns with benefits for those communities.
“Not only do the grants support the business being improved, they also generate work for local tradespeople and suppliers.”
Applicants will need to fund the works and Council will pay its contribution after they are done. Council will waive planning fees for successful applicants but building permit fees will still apply. Work on buildings in heritage areas will need to meet any relevant planning guidelines. Businesses that have had façade grants previously are still eligible, but preference will be given to businesses who have not previously been funded.
Works could include:
• Painting or cleaning;
• Removing old signs, air-conditioners and hoardings;
• Installing new business signs;
• Repairs, maintenance or replacement of tiles, awnings or verandahs;
• Installing interior lights visible from the street; or
• Universal access improvements (eg. ramps).
Successful applicants will have until 31 May 2022 to complete the works.
Mr Neeson encouraged businesses to call the Economic Development Team on 5593 7100 to discuss their application for the best chance of success.