The Lismore CBD has improved since the flood.
The Lismore CBD has improved since the flood. Kate O'Neill

45 empty shops in CBD, but situation is improving

THE Lismore CBD has 45 vacant shopfronts, but the council is confident the situation is continuing to improve post-flood.

The latest vacancy rate is 8.57 per cent, according to the council's manager of economic development, Tina Irish.

"Most recently, since June 2018, the Lismore CBD has seen nine businesses take up shopfront occupancies," she said.

"This brought the vacancy percentage down another 1.68 per cent to be on par with the rate pre-flood. This is exciting news.

"Whilst some refinement has occurred since late 2017 to improve data accuracy, the current vacancy figure is a vast improvement to the post-flood vacancy audit of 15.8 per cent in June 2017."

Ms Irish said a vacancy rate of 6-8 per cent was considered healthy for a CBD to encourage movement, renovation or expansion, and ensure sufficient space for new businesses to establish.

The latest data shows the following breakdown of CBD vacancies:

  • Molesworth Street: 26 shopfront vacancies.
  • Carrington/Conway Streets: 8 shopfront vacancies.
  • Keen Street: 8 shopfront vacancies.
  • Magellan Street: 2 shopfront vacancies.
  • Woodlark Street: 1 shopfront vacancy.

"Our strongest sector within the CBD remains retail trade, closely followed by food services, professional services and heath care assistance," Ms Irish said.

"We are keen to see how Molesworth Street evolves from here and we're keen to encourage economic activity back into this area. Santa's Wonderland, funded by the Lismore Promotion Program, was one of the ways we recently decided to encourage more activity on this street.

"We have also engaged with RealArtworks this year to have art in empty shopfronts this Christmas to bring creativity and something different to the CBD.

"There is no question our CBD will have to change and adapt with the rise of online shopping.

"But we urge locals to always think about shopping local first - it's the single best thing every individual can do to help our city thrive economically."