Blue Mountains Mayor urges visitors to return as Council prepares local economy recovery program
Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill is urging visitors to return to the Blue Mountains, after bush fires.
The plea has gone nationwide, in a bid to encourage visitors who have stayed away over the Christmas/New Year period to visit the Blue Mountains to help businesses who are struggling.
Key local economy recovery initiatives of up to $200,000 will go before the elected Council for endorsement on 28 January. Council will also bid for funding from the $76 million Commonwealth Government tourism recovery package, announced on 19 January.
“Council staff are reaching out to local businesses to understand what they need,” Mayor Greenhill said. "We know that our businesses, big and small, are hurting.
“Council’s program of proposed local economy recovery initiatives aim to kick start our economy, before it’s too late. But it’s only the start. Our businesses will need ongoing assistance, from all levels of government, to ensure they recover from these bush fires.”
Council initiatives include:
- The Council refunding up to 50% of commercial property rents for up to 3 months, back dated to December 2019, and refunding of footpath dining regulatory fees for up to 6 months.
- Developing a major Blue Mountains destination marketing campaign to attract visitors back to the Blue Mountains and support local employment and economic recovery.
- Implementing a ‘Love Local’ advertising campaign that encourages support of Blue Mountains businesses by shopping locally. The campaign will use social media channels to feature specific villages each month. As the campaign progresses, neighbouring councils will be asked to promote the concept.
- Promoting the Blue Mountains as a conference centre and promoting existing planned festivals and events, to market the benefits of visiting and staying in the Blue Mountains.
- Implementing a series of appropriate town centre activations to stimulate economic activity and employ local creatives. This may take the form of ‘Live and Local’ style micro-music festivals.
Blue Mountains businesses are being encouraged to complete the Bush fire impact survey. The survey takes only a few minutes to complete, and will help the NSW Small Business Commissioner assess the impact of the bush fires on the local economy: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/bushfireSBsurvey2020.
Most Council lookouts and reserves have reopened, now that fires surrounding the City have been contained.
“There are lots of small businesses, cafes and shops in the Blue Mountains, waiting for people to come and visit them right now,” Mayor Greenhill said. “So our message is: ‘We are open for business. If you love us, come and see us.’
“The best tonic for us, is for people to come back and visit now. Come to the Blue Mountains to shop and stay overnight. That’s the way the broader community can help our community.
“Council will continue to support our community to recover from these unprecedented bush fires.”
Upcoming Blue Mountains events include:
- The final weekend of the Leura Shakespeare Festival at Everglades Garden, Leura, on 24-26 January.
- Wines of the West Festival at The Carrington Hotel, Katoomba, on 25-26 January.
- Scenic World Lunar New Year 2020 at Scenic World, Katoomba from 25 January-9 February.
- Australia Day with the Australian Gnome Convention at Glenbrook Park, Glenbrook, on 26 January.
- Museum Special Open Day – Australia Day at Valley Heights Rail Museum, Valley Heights on 26 January.
- Blue Mountains Ukulele Festival at The Carrington Hotel, Katoomba, from 7-9 February. Get more information
- Jazz in the Garden at Norman Lindsay Gallery, Springwood, on 29 February.
- Blue Mountains Music Festival on 13-16 March.
For a full list of other Summer events in the Blue Mountains go to bmcc.nsw.gov.au.
Photo: Mayor Mark Greenhill at Echo Point.