Wollongong City Council will continue to support and explore proactive steps to improve the city’s economy after dark.
This week, Council adopted the Wollongong CBD Night Time Economy Policy. The step follows the month-long public exhibition of the Policy where Council received 26 submissions providing community input into the Policy.
The intention of the Policy is to facilitate the growth of the CBD to ensure it has a diverse, vibrant and inclusive ways that people can socialise at night-time.
“We’ve seen real and significant growth in Wollongong’s social fabric in recent years with the number of small bars and cafes opening in the city’s heart and thriving,” Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said.
“While COVID-19 has undoubtably had an impact on many businesses and business opportunities it’s exciting to see the breadth of these diverse offerings and the way they’re providing an alternative way for people to connect with friends. We’ve a well-established pub culture in the city and the small bar scene is providing another option that caters to a different market.
“What we’re looking to do through this policy is to support more, and different kinds of businesses to open late. By facilitating a broader range of businesses such as restaurants, retail, entertainment venues or amusement centres to offer longer hours, we’re supporting Wollongong’s after-hours growth.
“However, the Policy also takes into consideration other issues such as how to manage noise and public safety. It’s more than being about keeping the city alive beyond 5pm – it’s how to make the city experience as vibrant, entertaining and fun as possible within the best public safety guidelines and design.”
Cr Bradbery said the new Policy would provide Council the opportunity to build on the positive and proactive work of recent years, and provide further guidance to businesses looking to establish themselves in the city centre.
It didn’t, Cr Bradbery said, automatically extend business hours, and will be applied to new development application assessments and to applications for modifications to appropriate businesses.
“There is more to a city than what goes on during the daylight hours. Yes, we’ve retail offerings, great beaches and other cultural attractions like the Wollongong Art Gallery and Illawarra Performing Arts Centre,” he said.
“But if you look at Melbourne, for example, one of its big draw cards is its restaurants and small bar scene. Our focus is to also put Wollongong on the map, and ensure it’s an enviable place to live, work and play.”