Leongatha’s future positive
LEONGATHA Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Darryl McGannon described Leongatha as a lucky town “with plenty of positives”.
“Leongatha is a very stable town; we are close to Melbourne, a short drive to the beach, have great educational and sporting facilities, an indoor heated pool and are about to get a fabulous new hospital, adding already to excellent health facilities in the town,” he said.
Mr McGannon also praised the Leongatha retail area for its vibrancy and being a very tasteful place to shop.
He also said the industrial estate has continued to grow and the vision provided by previous councillors, including the late Cr Bryan Cusack, is a lasting legacy to how good the estate is today.
The chamber exists to promote the retail, commercial and industrial areas of the town, to work with South Gippsland Shire Council for the improvement of facilities in the town, and to listen to what the community wants from the town and its retail and service industries.
Mr McGannon said, as in all towns, there are a number of issues still outstanding for the town and the chamber.
Firstly the shire, the chamber and the community are continuing to work together for the improvement of parking in the town to enable better access for the consumer.
Last week’s meetings on parking were aimed at a number of initiatives including freeing up spaces in the centre of the CBD by stronger reinforcement of time limits, and clearer signage and communication on where the long term parking spaces are located for bosses and employees.
Mr McGannon said the three “big ticket” items as far as the chamber was concerned were the heavy vehicle bypass, the redevelopment of Bair Street, and the development of the VicTrack land.
“We are pleased that the State Government has funded a study for the heavy vehicle alternate route; this is a positive step forward,” he said.
“The community is pretty much unified on the necessity of having the B-doubles and cattle trucks using an alternate route through town, avoiding Bair Street.”
The redevelopment of Bair Street is dependent on the heavy vehicle route being established.
“The shire has a very good plan for Bair Street’s redevelopment including angle parking which would create a whole lot more parking,” Mr McGannon said.
“Bair Street would be transformed and I’m sure the few empty shops which we have now would fill up again.
“Leongatha is a stable town, however retail has been a bit flat, but that is occurring all over the state including in Melbourne.
“We have a great shopping centre and it will only improve with a redeveloped Bair Street.”
Mr McGannon spends a lot of his time representing the chamber at various meetings on a range of issues.
A busy man, he is also the president of the Leongatha Junior Football Club and is the dealer principal at Edney’s Nissan and Hyundai and has recently purchased the Yamaha franchise along with his business partner Ian Marshman.
The chamber runs a number of promotions throughout the year for Mother’s and Father’s days, Christmas and the Daffodil Festival to name a few.
Sandra Fleming, owner of Hair Bairs, and Kathy Smith, of Kelvin’s Bedding, are the chamber’s secretary and treasurer.
The annual general meeting of the group is coming up later in June or early July.
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