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Another lockdown blow but together we'll overcome

Thursday 16 September 2021
The return of lockdown is another heavy blow to our community, but we can take some comfort in knowing our city is resilient and ready to spring back into economic action as soon as this latest lockdown ends.

Among those hit the hardest are our local businesses who, through no fault of their own, are once again forced to close, only a week after a hopeful reopening that saw local shoppers show their support for our business sector.

While it’s understandable that many will be feeling despair at the prospect of another long period with limited or no incomes, the green shots of recovery in our week of freedom have shown that the underlying foundations of our economy are strong.

Our community has always supported local businesses. They are, after all, great businesses run and staffed by people we know – and shopping locally has the added benefit of ensuring the money we spend remains within our community and benefits us all.

We’re all looking forward to continuing that support in a post-lockdown environment and I do encourage you to shop locally as soon as this latest setback is over. You’ll not only be getting excellent goods and services, you’ll also be helping your friends, neighbours, and the wider community across Albury Wodonga and beyond.

With that aim in mind, we’ve been proud to launch the #MyLocalPledge campaign with the support of Albury Business Connect. Business leaders, community leaders and community members have taken to social media with their promise to support local businesses throughout this challenging time.

The strength of our community spirit has been seen in the incredible response to the campaign, with well over 100 pledges posted across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter so far. We’ve seen well-known local business and community leaders, alongside our generous community members pledge their support.

This is fantastic work by a caring community and a great testament to the ways in which we support each other, so thank you again and please keep up the good work. We encourage you to get involved in the campaign by pledging your support to help our businesses bounce back.

Vaccination remains our best path out of Covid-19, which is why we’re pleased to support the NSW Government’s Let’s Do This Campaign. If you haven’t already been vaccinated but can do so, please consider getting your shots as soon as possible so that we can give ourselves the best chance of a full recovery.

Meanwhile, our work at council to support our business community continues on a wide range of economic activation fronts. Among the exciting initiatives we’re working on, is an important review of our CBD Master Plans to encourage post-Covid growth.

The scope of the review, which was endorsed by our Councillors on Monday night, aims to further support our Albury and Lavington CBDs to create an updated, cohesive vision for our civic hearts that encourages growth, fosters diversity in our business offering, and injects even more cultural energy into our bright and prosperous shopping districts.

We’ve already laid a lot of the groundwork for enhancing our CBDs. The beautification of Wagga Road is one example of how we worked with the business community to make the Lavington CBD a more appealing destination for shoppers and business owners, but there’s more that can be done.

A planned trial of ‘parklets’ in our shopping precincts and the ongoing implementation of the Cultural Precinct Master Plan for the Albury city centre serve to illustrate the work we’re doing to create a big picture future for our CBDs.

However, it can only be done if the community joins us on the journey so the CBD master plan review will be informed by you - the people who live, work, shop and meet in our CBDs.

So, as work continues, we’ll be seeking your feedback to design and refine our new-look master plans and with your input, we’re looking forward to delivering the improvements that we all need to make the Albury Local Government Area an even more attractive place to live, work and invest.

In the meantime, please do continue to support those local businesses who are still trading and even more importantly, stay safe so that we can all return to a post-Covid “normal” as soon as possible.