The Tablelands area includes ranges and plateaus and volcanic lakes, rainforest and dry savannah wetlands. This stunning natural environment and more temperate climate makes it attractive to visitors. The now extinct volcanoes have left the area with fertile soils that support a diverse agricultural and primary production sector including dairy farming; one of the rarer examples of dairy farming in the tropics. Key industries include agriculture, mining, tourism, and services. This underpins a gross regional product of some $1.09 billion.
Holmes Dyer was engaged by the Tablelands Regional Council to undertake an analysis of the whole Council area to provide an evidence basis for retail policy development throughout the area.
The analysis involved:
- Evaluation of existing floorspace and mix within each centre/town/settlement;
- Review of population projections and demographic changes over time and trends;
- Review of tourism numbers, activity and potential and consequent impact for retail development and spending;
- Telephone survey of a cross-section of residents as a basis for understanding spending patterns, shopping preferences, non-retail infrastructure requirements and local issues, opportunities and aspirations; and
- Establishment of gross expenditure levels, turnover levels, captured and escape expenditure levels and oversupply/undersupply of floorspace by category.
The analysis underpinned a reaffirmation of the centres hierarchy for the region, identified opportunities for floorspace growth, considered strategies for capturing escape expenditure and for the integration and expansion of community, recreation, entertainment, commercial and health facilities, refined policy settings and provided urban design commentary on the delivery of new retail opportunities in key locations.