Shop facelift grants to attract business

Council has halved the requirement for businesses wanting to access its $50,000 2020-2021 Retail Area Façade Improvement Program.

Council will offer grants of up to $3000, on a $1:$2 basis, to local businesses and shop owners wanting to improve the appearance of their premises.

Manager Growth and Engagement Rory Neeson said the innovative program was into its fifth round.

“The program aims to give businesses across the Corangamite Shire an incentive to improve their business facades,” Mr Neeson said.

“All businesses located in the commercial area of a town within Corangamite Shire that have street frontage will be eligible.

“Because cash might not be as available due to the COVID-19 downturn, Council has changed the contribution ratio from $1:$1 to $1:$2, so if a business invests $1500, Council will put in $3000.”

Planning fees will be waived as part of the program to encourage participation, but building permit fees will still apply

“This is an opportunity, to support the businesses with flow-on benefits for local tradespeople and suppliers.”

Depending on the individual circumstances of each business, carrying out improvement works while business is slow might mean less disruption to operations, Mr Neeson said.

“Making improvements during the quiet time will put businesses in a better position to attract customers when things start to pick up after the COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.”

Over the past four years Council has invested in excess of $190,000 into more than 100 shop fronts. Grants can be used for:

  • Painting the façade
  • Cleaning the existing façade
  • Removing redundant signage, air conditioning units and hoardings
  • Minor repair, maintenance or reinstatement of missing elements
  • Minor repairs to existing tile or stone accents
  • Minor repairs to structural elements and awnings
  • Repairs or replacements of verandahs
  • Installation of store lighting visible from the street

Guidelines and application forms are available here.

Applications will open on Wednesday 1 July and successful applicants will have until 31 May 2021 to complete proposed works.

Mr Neeson encouraged interested businesses to contact Council for help with their application.

“It’s important that they discuss their application with Council before submitting it to make sure they get it right and maximise their chances of securing funding,” he said.

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