New façade grants program open to more businesses

Paintbrush by Joshua Coleman on Unsplash.jpg

More businesses across Corangamite Shire can take advantage of financial incentives to give their premises a facelift.

Council’s Business Façade Improvement Program (BFIP) is into its seventh year and for the first time eligibility has been extended beyond the main business strips.

Mayor Ruth Gstrein said the Corangamite Shire innovation had been so successful it was copied by other municipalities around the State.

“Initially the focus was on the main shopping strips to encourage highway users to stop and spend in our towns,” Cr Gstrein said.

“Council is now in a position to expand the program and inspire businesses outside the retail areas of Corangamite Shire to refresh their façade s as well as allow businesses to complete access improvements, a key action as part of Council’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan.

“This will make them more attractive to customers and improve the overall appearance of our towns.

“As well as the economic and tourism benefits, beautifying our streets will mean we take even more pride in the unique character of our fantastic towns.”

Manager Growth and Engagement Rory Neeson said any business could be eligible if works on the front of its building are visible from the street.

“Businesses can apply for up to $3,000 (exc. GST) on a $1:$1 basis,” Mr Neeson said.

“These aren’t up-front grants. Applicants must be able to fund the works and Council will pay its contribution once works are done.

Council will waive planning fees for successful applicants but building permit fees might 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).

Mr Neeson encouraged businesses to call the Economic Development Team on 5593 7100 to discuss their application for the best chance of success.

Guidelines and an online application form can be found here.

Applications will be accepted until 9am, Monday 9 August.

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