On December 6th I will attending the Hobart City Councils’ meeting to put forward the following questions/preamble
In recent weeks I have been noticing a disturbing trend with some of the elected members and Hobart City Council staff in regards to their attitude towards small business owners.
With the advent of the now rescinded Melville Street Development application a number of traders stood up to state they were unhappy with the entire plan and concept design for the area they function within.
Numerous times including at the City Talks Networking evening when I presented the issues around loss of income and accessibility the standard answer has become ‘well you should move your business then’.
It is hard to understand such a pathetic ethos about small business owners who contribute to the cultural fabric, employment , goods and services to the greater community. After all, imagine the uproar if a resident suggested they did not appreciate the building works next door to their home that the standard answer from Council elected members and staff was ‘to move’.
A small business owner has to either buy the building they trade from at significant expense or invest in a multi-year lease which is generally as expensive if not more expensive than residential rentals. To move you have to pay out your lease which would easily start at $50k to $100k plus fork out for a refit in the new leased premises. All because no duty of care has been taken to respect the ability of a small business owner to quietly trade where they have invested by the Council.
I ask that the Hobart City Council please provide the rate payers of Hobart an explanation of how it is that small business owners can be treated with such utter contempt. Why is it that traders contributions are considered less worthy than a near billion dollar entity like UTAS. Why are traders being pressured to move at all? Is there no right available to small business owners to quietly trade in peace within the bounds of Hobart City Council.
I also note with concern that UTAS has now purchased enormous amounts of what was commercial rate paying buildings. Given the temporary ‘rates equivalent’ contributions from UTAS towards THEIR projects appear to remove even more income producing assets from Hobart City Council areas – how does Hobart City Council intend to balance this significant additional reduction in both rates income and parking income?