WHAT YOU WANT: Small businesses call for council support
TOURISM, infrastructure and transparency are some of the areas local businesses would like to see addressed by candidates in the lead-up to the election.
Buffalo Bill’s owner Nick Martin said he believed council should be working toward attracting more people to the centre of town.
“If they allow permissions to get as much traffic onto Palmerin St as possible, retail businesses will really benefit,” he said.
“Things like Great Australian Bites was a step in the right direction but it would have been great to involve the stores lining the street so they can benefit from the crowds.”
Mr Martin’s store has been open for just over 18 months and he said the best thing the council could do for owners was proactively support small business on the Southern Downs.
“With everything they do, I would hope they can contract local trades or get supply for events all from local producers and retailers,” he said.
“Citizens are really buying from the bush so it would be great to see council trying to involve us in every aspect of what we do.”
While Mr Martin said it had been a tough few months with factors such as road closures, fire and now coronavirus affecting his stock, he hoped council would work with businesses to build the economy back up.
Real estate business owner Helen Harm said if the council was working to attract more people to live and stay on the Southern Downs, it needed to update its infrastructure accordingly. “It feels like the council are approving more businesses and expansions but aren’t matching the growth they want to put into the region with infrastructure,” she said.
“If you want to entice people you need to fix the roads and have more water security to match it.
“It’s great to get more people to come in but what are you going to do to make sure there isn’t a strain on our current infrastructure because of it?”
Mrs Harm said she would also like to see more transparency from candidates and councillors.
“I feel like sometimes I ask questions and I don’t get a straight answer, for example I’m not sure why rates differ so heavily on the street my business is located on,” she said.
“I’m not saying they need to ask businesses’ permission but we should be consulted because if businesses aren’t doing well, then neither is the community.”
Danny Lyons said he believed the current council had done a great job at expanding and supporting the region’s business.
“Look at what they’ve done with Big W, Integria and Grove juice,” he said.
“The reality is it’s drought and there’s only so much you can do and I think they’ve really done all they can.”
Mr Lyons said he believed locals had been too negative toward the council.
“People want quick fixes to things and unfortunately there isn’t one for the drought and the hardship that’s come from it,” he said.
“But I wish people would stop being so negative.
“People don’t realise how beautiful the main street is and how lucky we are to live in a beautiful city.
“I am so lucky to do business here, and I have been here 38 years.”
For tradespeople of Warwick, water is front of mind.
Harry Busiko from M Wheatley Roofing and Wall Cladding said water security was front of mind for most businesses in the region.
“When there’s no water, there’s less business and work for tradies,” he said.
“Things have been quiet so if there was a way the council could ensure we don’t run out so quickly that would help every aspect of the community.”
Mr Martin said his vote would go toward candidates who kept small business in mind.
“We’ll be voting accordingly for sure,” he said.
“I can only speak for myself when I say candidates have made the effort to come in and speak to us at Buffalo Bill’s but I really hope they have done the same with other small businesses.”