MRA Economic Development Plan

 

PROJECT BRIEF

PURPOSE

The Economic Development Plan (EDP) will provide the research data to create a 10-year framework to reinvigorate the local economy within Maroochydore’s original Town Centre precinct, utilising an approach that integrates best practice evidence and fosters collaboration with a broad cross section of local stakeholders.

The Economic Development Plan will be undertaken by C Change Sustainable Solutions & SGS Economics during October and November 2014.

The MRA precinct, once the central centre of business, employment and recreation in Maroochydore has experienced decline over the last decade with initiatives, investment and design development projects being focused on surrounding activity centres, for example Sunshine Plaza, Sippy Downs Town centre and the Maroochydore PDA. The snowball effect is evident in the number of vacant shops and office premises, lack of diversity in local activities and limited foot traffic in the precinct.

Currently, with the adjacent Maroochydore City Centre Priority Development Area being fast tracked to become the business, community and employment hub of the Sunshine Coast it is of critical importance that our commercial precinct has a clear identity and robust economic analysis to ensure future policies, initiatives and actions address and respond to existing gaps in the market and capitalises on existing assets, and local community advantages. The purpose being to strengthen and work together to create complimentary precinct development.

In the last 18 months the MRA has illustrated the enthusiasm and demand for revitalisation of the historic town centre as a cultural and business precinct via the activation of a series of place-based initiatives. Essentially the MRA has established the starting ingredients of how to ‘turn a place around’. How to build upon this into the future for the entire precinct is the advantageous position we are now in.

KEY ISSUES TO BE ADDRESSED IN THE PLAN

Each of our regions and precincts are competing for investment for infrastructure and to attract knowledge and skilled workers, large employment companies, retail, and entertainment to create vibrant urban clusters. Research clearly demonstrates that places that have a higher density of people who live and work in a highly accessible and serviced precinct will have greater overall agglomeration benefits and value add to the wider community. We also know that precincts require a clear identity and a forward thinking vision that reinforces role and function, projects and a pathway for investment and higher order spending.

The MRA is interested in developing a plan that defines exactly what actions the precinct needs to move forward, what are the game changer projects and importantly how will they best be resourced? How do we diversify employment opportunities and support and attract local and wider investment networks and infrastructure projects? What infrastructure projects would have the most enduring impact on the local economy? The EDP will also provide the mechanisms to strengthen and inform a sustainable organisational structure including recommendations for funding of current and future MRA projects and events.

Issues that have been identified include:

  • Maximising business investment opportunities through the rationalisation and connectivity of present activities, plus enabling pathways for new opportunities, particularly big business;

  • Identifying issues that restrict current and potential future business activities, for example, car parking and other development approval requirements;

  • Maximising opportunities through improving access and connection to surrounding activity generators;

  • Improving the economic viability, lifestyle and identity of the precinct through consideration of the open space and social infrastructure inclusions in the Precinct;

  • Creating a Precinct identity that is regionally, nationally and potentially internationally known;

  • Ensuring that the Precinct maximises its opportunities by aligning with government policy; and,

  • Ensuring that all key stakeholders are adequately engaged and encouraged to own the strategy that is produced, playing their respective role to achieve project outcomes.

ABOUT THE MRA

The Maroochydore Revitalisation Association was formed in November of 2012 and has grown into a strong and active group that is changing the future of the historic Maroochydore town centre.

The MRA is made up of a group of businesses, residents and landowners who collaborate on economic and community projects. We utilise a partnership approach involving input from multiple business, residential and community stakeholders to raise awareness of Maroochydore’s Traditional Town Centre, attracting visitation and income for businesses within the precinct.

Examples of our experience and evidencing of our commitment to the local economy, our relevant projects are outlined as follows:

  • Nights on Ocean (a local night market held once a month within the precinct that promotes the area as food, entertainment and cultural hub and helps fund the administration of the MRA).

  • Ocean Street World Festival (an annual festival that promotes the area as a culturally rich food and music hub and attracts visitors from other areas of South East Queensland. Attracted over 30,000 visitors in 2014)

  • Captain and the Duke pop up bar (a monthly pop up bar that helps fund the administration of the MRA and also funds particular projects of the MRA).

  • Commissioned local Street Art/ Murals

  • New Years Eve Fireworks, Markets at Cotton Tree Park

  • Art and Soul -The Duporth Project in collaboration with local Traders

  • Marketing sub-committee that provides a platform for engagement and discussion on local issues via our facebook pages, website and newsletters and events.

 

 MRA PRECINCT – STUDY AREA

The catchment area of the MRA encompasses a portion of sub-precincts 4, 5 and 6 of the Maroochydore PRAC Master Planned Area, and a small portion that sits completely outside of the PRAC area (Within the full MRA catchment boundary, there are at least 950 different property owners and more than 500 permanent residents, which represents an evenly spread mix of commercial properties, owner-occupier residences and holiday accommodation.

 

All of these different stakeholders have a direct interest in the economic success and resilience of the area, as it impacts directly and significantly on employment opportunities, services and products available locally, the financial success of businesses and earnings of local operators, occupancy rates of all property types, property values and the general appeal of the area.