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History of Canberra CBD Limited
Canberra CBD Limited was formed in 2007-08 to deliver the objectives of the City Centre Marketing & Improvements Grant. The company has only one agenda, which is to bring together private and public sector skills to achieve an ideal, world-class City Centre recognised for its vitality, liveability, commercial success and outstanding sense of community.
Canberra CBD Limited came about as a direct result of the efforts of the Property Council and Canberra City Heart Association, which wanted to see a new not-for-profit organisation representing the interests of the Levy Payers and achieving the Grant objectives.
Canberra City Centre is one of thousands of cities around the world that has taken up the challenge to self-tax and self-manage its destiny, in a form of what is commonly known as a Business Improvement District (BID).
BIDS have been described as ‘a conspicuous illustration of creative thinking at the local level’. BIDs are not new. The world’s first BID was the idea of a retailer in Toronto, Canada. Frightened that a new underground transit line shopping centre would extinguish business in the Bloor West commercial precinct, the retailer asked his council if 400 local properties could tax themselves to raise funds to market the area – an activity outside the scope of normal government services. That was back in the 1960s.By establishing the Canberra City Centre Marketing and Improvements Grant program, the ACT Government has created the right environment for a successful BID in the Canberra City Centre.
The structure of Canberra CBD Limited offers Levy Payers direct participation in decision making about activities designed to improve the value of their City Centre investments. In delivering the Grant Program, Canberra
CBD Limited only provides services over and above usual government services – services to improve and position the City Centre as an attractive, safe, clean, dynamic, vital, liveable City Centre where businesses and community prosper in the Canberra’s dominant centre for business activity, retailing, commerce, culture, entertainment and recreation.
Canberra CBD Limited is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. Its constitutional objectives are:
a) To market and maintain the City Centre as the premier retail, lifestyle and commercial district in the ACT, and
b) To do everything in support of that objective, including:
- having a strategic business plan that sets out priorities for marketing and maintaining the City Centre to a high standard that is appropriate to the commercial and social needs of the community
- marketing activities to position the City Centre as the premier retail, lifestyle and commercial district in the ACT, including activities to market the City Centre as a place to do business
- events and promotions that support the positioning of the City Centre by
- supporting the retail sector
- activating public and private spaces to create a safe street life culture
- contributing to the safe use of the City Centre by day and by night, and
- enhancing its reputation as the dynamic heart of Canberra
- a public enhancement program that provides for investment in key public areas beyond the maintenance and related services expected of the ACT Government before the levy was introduced (for example, the forthcoming refurbishment of the West Row Park; floral baskets throughout the city centre in summer, and caged bin enclosures for rubbish collection)
- providing services that encourage commercial property owners to maintain their properties in the City to a high standard of presentation (for example, a cleaning and grafitti removal program; murals on key City walls)
- liaising with government and its agencies and authorities to achieve coordinated outcomes, and
- raising funds, including procuring grant funding, to support Canberra CDB Limited’s objectives.