Benefit Area Levy proposal update
In March/April 2016, MRA precinct businesses attended information sessions to provide feedback on the special area benefit levy proposal.
There was general support for the MRA’s revitalisation and activation initiatives, and agreement that those who benefit from such initiatives should contribute to the cost.
The feedback also revealed differing views on the level of benefit received and the boundaries proposed for the special area benefit levy.
Sunshine Coast Council remains committed to community-led revitalisation initiatives where those who benefit invest in these initiatives. As a result, there will be further engagement with stakeholders in coming months to better understand the extent and reach of beneficiaries.
Council has commended the efforts of the MRA and volunteers over the past four years. it has also acknowledged that financial contributions made by some individuals to cover the operating costs associated with activation initiatives are unsustainable.
Council will work in partnership with the MRA to maintain momentum for revitalisation and activation initiatives as detailed in the MRA’s Economic Development Plan (EDP), and to develop a future funding model that meets stakeholders’ needs.
The MRA has made great advances to strengthen the economy and cultural experiences within this precinct over the last three years through self-funding initiatives such as monthly markets, grants and sponsorships.
As a result, the MRA precinct has become a renowned destination for all ages to enjoy music, food, people and atmosphere, contributing $34 million to the local economy, welcomed 25 new businesses in the last two years, and attracted 300,000 visitors across 31 events.
To date, a small number of business and property owners have provided funding to support our volunteers and initiatives. The MRA now proposes a new funding model to ensure long-term sustainability to support ongoing events and activities within the precinct.
MRA activities will not be able to continue without a commitment from stakeholders.
A new funding model
Our Economic Development Plan (EDP) 2015 identified the Business Improvement District (BID) model as a well renowned example of a benefit area levy to support the MRA’s revitalisation activities.
It includes details of the Benefit Area Levy proposal which we believe will maximise the benefits for businesses, residents and visitors, and achieve MRA’s vision to develop this precinct into a strong local economy with rich cultural experiences.
The EDP identified two key elements for successful long-term revitalisation:
- a self-motivated and strong community and individuals
- secure funding streams
One of the EDP's key recommendations is to move away from a volunteer-based operation to ensure the MRA Precinct maintains its vibrancy, sustainability and community activities.
What is a Benefit Area Levy?
A Business Improvement District (BID) is an example of a Benefit Area Levy model. It covers a geographic area in which commercial property owners are charged a special levy to provide a collective funding source for initiatives that have a direct benefit to the maintenance, development, and promotion of their commercial business district.
A BID levy does not replace ordinary Council expenditure but fast tracks local initiatives that increase foot-traffic/people, activity and investment back into the area. These funds support programs such as marketing and promotion, street enhancement, safety and security, events and festivals, and business development.
- Your levy contribution will deliver 4 times its value to the precinct. Or put another way, every $1 of BID Levy delivers $4 of value to the precinct.
- Over 1/3 of MRA's funding is generated by its volunteers, through events which promote and activate the precinct.
- Over the next 12 months, volunteers will contribute 3,000 unpaid hours to bring you 11 Nights on Ocean markets, Captain and The Duke Pop up Bar, and the annual Ocean St World Festival.
- This provides a collective resource for individual commercial or retail businesses (foot traffic, marketing exposure, advocacy about local issues) far beyond what could be afforded alone.
More details are available in the MRA Benefit Area Levy proposal.