Bid to revitalise Kaikohe pushed

By Peter de Graaf

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Kaikohe's Business Association is making a serious push to set up Northland's second Business Improvement District (Bid).

The association believes a Bid will revitalise Kaikohe, boost business opportunities and attract more people to visit and do business.

Bids work by charging a levy on properties in the business district, with the money used for beautification, promotion, job creation or infrastructure improvements on top of those paid for by the council.

The levy is collected via rates bills but Bids are independent from councils, which just collect and hand over the cash.

Kaikohe Business Association chairman Steve Sangster said Bids were a proven way to bring positive changes to commercial areas.

More than 2500 had been set up worldwide, including 46 in the Auckland Council area.

The only other Northland Bid so far is in Kaitaia.

Mr Sangster said if the Bid went ahead all businesses would have a chance to be involved in decisions about how its money was spent.

He said Kaikohe was an excellent place for business due to its strategic location, low-cost properties and labour, as proven by the town scooping seven of the nine awards at the recent Tall Poppies business awards.

Whether or not a Bid went ahead would be decided by majority vote.

Ballot papers would be sent to all property owners and tenants at the end of November, with both parties able to vote.

The result will be known around December 12.

Levies collected through the Bid would be a catalyst to leverage additional funding to make Kaikohe a vibrant and attractive place for business, Mr Sangster said. The association had already received a grant from Pub Charities that was being used to improve the appearance of the town, upgrade signage and provide better visitor information.

The Kaikohe-Hokianga Community Board had also agreed to pay the wages of a part-time town manager, who would promote Kaikohe and oversee new initiatives.

Two information meetings are being held at the Kaikohe RSA to explain the Bid and answer any questions.

The first was held on November 15 with the second to follow at 5.30pm on November 20.

The Kaitaia Bid was passed in a close vote in July this year and is working on a series of beautification and promotional projects.

Kaitaia's levy depends on the size of the property but averages about $200 a year.

An attempt last year to set up a Bid in Kerikeri failed to win a majority vote.

- Northern Advocate

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