CBD from the creek trail south of Meridian. April 6, 2015.

Regarding Dandenong

Streetlife Grant

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In a major boost for Dandenong retailers, a $20,000 Streetlife grant will be offered to the City of Greater Dandenong to fund the Food Retailers Capacity Building pilot project, Member for South Eastern Metropolitan Region Gordon Rich-Phillips announced today.

Mr Rich-Phillips said the $20,000 grant will provide a tailored mentoring program to food-related businesses, designed to increase their capacity to attract and retain customers in a changing retail environment.

I wasn't going to post this, but news has been pretty thin this week. I think this is a useful grant, especially so for the businesses involved. I'm just not sure how useful.

I think now's the right time to really gear up food retailing on Lonsdale Street. I'd argue that the aim should be to get at least 30-40% of the retail on the street to be food-related. Cafes and restaurants would be the staple, but there should also be butchers, delis, bakers, grocers, fruiterers and specialty shops.

Why's now the right time? Works affecting this the heart of the town will (finally) wind up early next year with the completion of the municipal building. The new civic square will be the town's metaphorical living room, acting as a kernel of safety and familiarity. This should add significantly to the amount of pedestrian traffic in the immediate area. A couple of major residential buildings will also be coming online in the city centre over the next 2 years, with many more smaller ones on the immediate periphery. This should increase the number of residents who find the car inconvenient and shopping centres cumbersome and who will prefer to frequent open air shops and eateries on foot.

But, even if we were all agreed that food is the direction in which Lonsdale Street should go, it's not clear how we would get there. Grants like these can help (if kept focused), but I think they are only a tiny fraction of what's needed.