Well it’s been a busy season for the Chamber Committee and our Sub Committees. Below is a Christmas Wrap up (pun intended) of what has been happening
Christmas Sub Committee
The Christmas Sub Committee have done an amazing job, continuing their work right up to this week. They wrapped the telegraph poles in festive colours, decorated empty shops, put out Elves, and Santa’s and of course organised the BIG Christmas Tree which looks wonderful.
They also organised our Christmas drinks in the courtyard where we had about 40-50 people attend. It was a great chance just to catch up in an informal setting, and enjoy a drink and a chat before the silly season begins.
The whole town looks great and we have been getting plenty of great feedback so a HUGE thank you to everyone involved.
The Christmas Sub Committee consisted of Kristy Martin, Jessica Porter, Kim Dorling, Ben Bell, Paula Benneian, Carmel Smith, Christine Farnham, Karen Brown, Garry Clarke, Tania Dwyer, Nathan O’Donnell, Kym Brookes
The following businesses all helped us with the Christmas Tree. Raging Bull, Fox Air conditioning, Sapphire Coast Electrical, Green Homes, Tasman Engineering, Purcell Welding, Robert Green for letting us place it on his property and of course the Merimbula Special Events Committee for their generous sponsorship. Thanks also to our major Sponsors Club Sapphire, Merimbula RSL and to 2EC/Power FM for their support.
Retail Sub Committee
The Retail SC where busy as well organising the big Christmas shopping day last Sunday. The town was buzzing with festive spirit led by a visit from Santa who arrived on the back of the Fire Truck thanks to the local RFS. Santa was a hit, especially for photos in front of the Christmas Tree whilst Mrs Claus and the elf helped out. Highlands corner had some action with some live entertainment and a gift wrapping service was supplied by the View Club ladies, and Merimbula P&C.
It was great to see the streets busy again with people taking advantage of the new parking in Market St and we have received plenty of great feedback from retailers including one who doesn’t normally open on Sunday that said they had a “Bumper Day”.
Merimbula’s Naughty Elves’ have been running amuck in stores and across social media as retailers get behind the promotion. Don’t forget to encourage shoppers to join in the hunt and get their entries in by Christmas Eve.
In an exciting update on our Retail Incubator program, our discussions with a local landlord have progressed and we now have a suitable premises. This means we can put a proposal together and put a call out for Expressions of Interest from retailer in the new year. Stay tuned for more details because this is going to be VERY exciting.
Landlords Sub Committee
Our Landlords SC have been busy working directly with a number of Landlords to try and make some improvements before the holiday crowd come in.
Earlier this week we were excited to announce the opening of a new shop in town, Raging Bull.
Whilst this may not be a permanent location for this store, we are keen to support the brand as they are heavily invested in building this as a Merimbula based brand, which will be great for the long term of the town. You can read all about it here.
We also worked directly with Bruce Marshall, the landlord of the Old Woolworths building to unlock the underground car park and open up half of it, which created around 40 spaces. Due to council regulations on the NEW Development Application, the area would require a significant upgrade before re-opening, but if the available spaces were limited to 40, there were no such requirements, so we are very pleased to have those made available. Rankin builders moved quickly to get the necessary arrangements in place and the car park is now open. A big thank you to Bruce Marshall and Don Rankin for making this happen and also to Robert Green has been very helpful in allowing us to use space for the Christmas Tree as well as storing decorations.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Whilst we have no control over who parks there, we are strongly encouraging business owners to utilise these spaces, for them and their staff. These are untimed and undercover so they are great for all day parking, but more importantly if businesses use these spaces, there will be 40 more car parks in the street for your customers so PLEASE don’t park in the streets.
Parking Sub Committee
By now, most of you would have seen or heard the changes to the parking. We are very pleased that the BVSC and traffic committee accepted most of the recommendations from our submission short term plans. These changes have been rolling out over the last week and we believe they will have a real impact this summer. Once again the feedback has been very positive and we thank the BVSC for working with us to get this in place before the busy holiday season. Read more here.
Events Sub Committee
As we have mentioned previously the Chamber President has been working directly with the Merimbula Eat Festival to help build this into a 3 day event. The program is now confirmed with 5 events across the long weekend in March 6-8. The weekend will kick of with a 3 Chef’s dinner on Friday night at the Wharf, on Saturday there will be a Long Lunch at Wheelers followed by a Craft Beer Festival at Club Sapphire on Saturday afternoon. Then on Sunday the main event will be at the Fishpen as always and then there will be a Meet the Brewers dinner and Craft Beergustation at the Rockpool to round out the weekend.
We have attached copies of the promotional poster and encourage businesses to print them off and put one in your window to promote it over Christmas. There are also some postcards available if you would like hand them out and they can be collected from Jess at Horizon Bank.
Also it’s a bit of a secret, but we just submitted a grant application for a major event next year, and we don’t want to say too much at this stage, but if we are successful we are very excited about the opportunities that might come out of it. Fingers crossed
Fires and Tourism
Our friends to the North in the Eurobodalla Shire are currently facing extreme fire situations and our hearts go out to them. We know exactly what is like and remember the devastating Tathra fires of 2018.
The Kings Highway is the main corridor between Canberra and Batemans Bay and the road is now closed for an undetermined amount of time. There is the possibility of further road closures including the Princes Hwy north of the Bay and both of these will have devastating consequences for business in the shire coming in to the busy holiday season.
People wanting to travel from Canberra to the Bay will have to come down Brown Mountain and come via Bega, which will increase traffic and possible visitation to our shire. Whilst we will appreciate the extra visitation from this, we would of course encourage local visitors that were thinking of heading that way, to still do so if they can, because they will need all the visitors they can get.
Dates for the diary
24 December – Cruise ship visits Eden so even more people in town
31 December – New Years Eve at Ford Oval - Event Details
6-8 March - Merimbula Eat Festival
The Final Wrap
Just want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone that has supported the Chamber and everything we have been trying to achieve over the last 4 months. In particular we would like to acknowledge
The Executive Committee (and their families for putting up with us)
The wonderful people who made up our various Sub Committees
Our local Businesses and Members who have got behind what we are doing
The Bega Valley Shire Council staff and Councillors for working with is
and the General community for their (mainly) positive feedback
We are all volunteers and we do this work because we love Our Merimbula and are passionate about making it a better place to work, live and stay.
We think we have achieved a lot in a short time, but we have all earned a well-deserved rest. Of course we will back big and better in 2020 but in the mean time on behalf of the Executive we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and safe and prosperous 2020