PHOTOS

Moves to revive business in Cronulla mall and other shire centres when lockdown ends

Cronulla mall will be draped with fairy lights, with more outdoor tables and shop displays to help businesses as they reopen after the Delta lockdown.

Plans for Christmas include more decorations and possibly a large Christmas tree, Santa photos and roving carol singers, health orders permitting.

Sutherland Shire Council staff and councillors have been working with the Cronulla Chamber of Commerce on the initiatives.

Bright idea: Cronulla mall will be draped with fairy lights similar to those installed at Kirrawee.

Bright idea: Cronulla mall will be draped with fairy lights similar to those installed at Kirrawee.

Mayor Steve Simpson said the council wanted business owners in other shopping centres in the shire to put forward ideas for how they can be helped as well.

"Just ask and we will see what we can do," Cr Simpson said.

Glenys Davies reopened her homewares shop Beach House Style for "click and collect" on Saturday after a 10-week closure.

The arrival of a container load of goods from Indonesia has the Cronulla Street store well stocked for a hoped-for business rebound when full reopening is allowed in mid-October when the double vaccination rate in NSW reaches 70 per cent.

"It has made me very sad watching shops closing because most are like me - small business people, who live locally," Ms Davies said.

Ms Davies said the proposed initiatives would give the mall "a nicer atmosphere because it is pretty drab".

"Cronulla has a nice community spirit and people are very proud of living in this area," she said.

"I think they would put more effort into shopping local if there was more of a campaign."

Beach 'not enough': Gavin Kable, proprietor of Nulla Nulla cafe, wants to see more events like the Jazz and Blues Festival. Picture: Chris Lane

Beach 'not enough': Gavin Kable, proprietor of Nulla Nulla cafe, wants to see more events like the Jazz and Blues Festival. Picture: Chris Lane

However, Ms Davies is apprehensive about having to enforce the requirement that only fully vaccinated people can enter shops.

"There was opposition from some people to wearing a mask inside the shop, and this can cause unpleasantness," she said.

The idea for fairy lights to brighten the mall came up during discussions between council staff and councillors following the positive feedback from a similar initiative this year at Kirrawee.

While the South Village developer paid for the Kirrawee lights, the Cronulla project will be paid for from council funds.

Cr Carol Provan said A Ward councillors gained approval for $50,000 allocated for the next stage of the mall upgrade to be diverted to pay for the lights.

"The installation should commence by mid-October and they could be operating by early November," she said.

"We have been reaching out to different people for ideas. Father James McCarthy from St Aloysius Church, suggested, at Christmas, having a choir going around singing carols.

"We are working to start with a special night to turn on the lights, with music, and then have different groups singing at spots in the mall and Monro Park, which I think people would love."

Cr Simpson said fees had been waived this financial year for outdoor dining licences and A-frame and Shopfront Display permits.

"We want to encourage more outdoor tables and chairs as long as it is safe and doesn't impede pedestrians," he said.

"I can't see a problem if a shop wants to put a clothing rack or some other goods display out the front, but come and talk to us about it."

Gavin Kable, proprietor of one of Cronulla's oldest cafes, Nulla Nulla, said both short and long term initiatives were needed because retail in the area was declining before the pandemic.

"I think all stakeholders need to work together," he said. "That includes the council, chamber of commerce, landlords and businesses," he said.

"If you look at some of the buildings, they are run down.

"There are a lot of vacant shops and the landlords should do what is necessary to make sure the current tenants stay.

"Once it was good enough to have the beach, but Cronulla needs more than that these days, including events like this year's Jazz and Blues Festival."

Cronulla Chamber of Commerce helped organise for Service NSW to work with local businesses to deal with the impacts of the Delta outbreak.

"Everyone is suffering and there are a lot of empty shops, but hopefully summer will be good," chamber president Mark Aprilovic said.

The chamber is planning to hold the Jazz and Blues Festival again in 2022.

WANT MORE LOCAL NEWS?

SIGN UP FOR YOUR FREE WEEKLY NEWSLETTER