Watching the news this week in relation to Council and organisations like Revitalising Newcastle and Newcastle NOW it felt a little like watching bickering children. Lots of blame being thrown out and not enough ownership of responsibility. Who is to blame? At this point does it matter as much as who helps to fix it? The answer to the second question should really be everyone fixing it.
I'm talking about the current issue of the seemingly endless supply of businesses closing their doors and the scary tales of bankruptcy becoming a little too common during a time of massive investment into the city.
Sure, you have to make a mess before you can truly tidy up and I am still pro on the new rail development, but at what cost? Through no fault of their own, many good hard working Novocastrians have had their lives torn apart by these developments and we should all feel a little guilt for not helping them before it was/is too late.
Councillors and our new Council CEO are busy flinging poo instead of getting their hands dirty and getting the job at hand done. Increasing visitation into the city and all of these struggling businesses. $2000 kick back to struggling businesses? Really? Does anyone actually think that is enough money to keep a dying business alive (because it is not!).
Novocastrians need to step up and get into the city and wander around. It is such a great opportunity to walk around our changing city and take a poke around. It is really interesting what is going on in there and well worth a look through the fences at developments. Buy a coffee somewhere different, maybe some food somewhere else, buy a present for someone and get really organised for that next birthday or Christmas. Seriously, if stores saw an extra 100 people every week spend $20 that could keep them afloat throughout this time.
Stop complaining that it is "Too hard to get into the city" and make some effort. Your outraged Facebook share might make you feel really good that you did something, but really, you didn't. You're about as shit as the bickering children that are meant to be in charge. Stores are closing because people aren't spending money in them, because people are being lazy and not making the effort to walk the extra 5 minutes to support locals suffering then you are part of the problem. Feeling guilty? Now is the time to make a plan and put in a little effort. People's lives are in your hands and I'd like to think that the Novocastrian spirit is much like the Australian spirit around mateship and helping one another.
We are heading into a Grand Final weekend and it is easy to get swept up in the (hopefully) winning team, but we could all be winners here if we took the time to lift one another up instead of pushing others down.
At the same time I'm calling out our Mayor, Councillors and Newcastle NOW to work together and invest money and resources into as many ways to bring people into the city as possible. $430,000 could be a lot of activations, events, gatherings, activities or anything to drive attendance inwards.
Cut out some red-tape and paperwork for groups already running events like Markets, H Events with athletic activities, Darby Street Live was a brilliant success. Why aren't people already running successful events being empowered to do more of them with a budget and NCC staff assistance? The new Grants round is brilliant, but we need to work really fast because Newcastle deserves that much.
Come on Newcastle, we can do this! Go Jets!