Time for Some Optimism in Hervey Bay

With around 2,000 homes for sale, many new business premises remaining empty in Hervey Bay and the continuing closure of many small businesses on the Fraser Coast it’s not hard to be pessemistic about the future of this great town but perhaps it’s time for some optimism.

Hervey Bay has always had a two-stage economy … there’s the retirees and others moving in because of the lifestyle and then there’s the tourists. Both stages of the economy have been in the doldrums for quite some time but the Easter weekend … and April as a whole … saw an increase in tourism numbers.

We certainly aren’t back to the levels that experienced a few years ago but there are positive signs that the industry is recovering and that’s great news for Hervey Bay. Some local business groups have given up waiting for the Council to do anything and are now following the lead set by Holiday Hervey Bay and doing what they can to promote this town themselves.

So perhaps it’s time to stop being so negative about our future and start thinking that there may be a positive outcome for this town after all. At least one small business is already thinking that Hervey Bay is a great place to do business:

It looks as though Hervey Bay will have a new restaurant opening in the near future. Several people have tried running a cafe/restaurant next to Wetside but for various reasons have not succeeded. Perhaps this time we’ll see a positive result.

SalonShop Opens in Hervey Bay

There’s no doubt that times are tough for small businesses in Hervey Bay and we’re more likely to see closures than openings. So it’s pleasing to be able to report that a new business is opening in Hervey Bay today.

SalonShop is a wholesale and retail hair and beauty supplier and they’re opening their doors at Unit 8 17 Liuzzi Street in Pialba. The business already has outlets in Maroochydore and Bundaberg and sees Hervey Bay as a market that’s definitely worth tapping into.

The new business will be open 9 to 5 Monday to Friday and 9 to 12 on Saturday.

Book Your Dental Appointment or Car Service Online in Hervey Bay

These days if a business doesn’t have it’s own website then it is almost certainly losing customers for so many people in Hervey Bay search online for the businesses in town that can provide the services they need.

But now it’s quite possible to go beyond just having a website that provides basic information about your business and two businesses here in Hervey Bay have used the website technology to make it easier for their clients to make an appointment.

If you’re looking for a dentist in Hervey Bay then click the link and you’ll find yourself on the Primere Dental Studio’s website where you can book an appointment for whatever dental service you need.

For car repairs in Hervey Bay click the link and you’ll find yourself on the Total Auto Care website where you can book your car in for a service or repairs using the booking form on the website.

Before long you’ll be seeing other businesses using the Internet to interact with their clients here in Hervey Bay.

Hervey Bay Pharmacy Goes Online

More and more people in Hervey Bay are turning to the Internet to find the information that they require. Turning to the Yellow Pages when you want to find some local information is becoming a thing of the past and Google is where people are heading these days.

Beachside Pharmacy in Hervey BayClive and Kerry Scotney from the Beachside Pharmacy have been watching that trend grow and recently decided to take their business to where people were searching. But rather than just pushing their marketing message at people they decided that they wanted to bring important health information down to a local level and so they’ve become the first pharmacy in Hervey Bay to have their own website.

The website includes a growing database of important health information that can be accessed at any time of the day or night.

Toni Livesey from Total Website Management – the team that developed the site – thinks that it could be the first pharmacy website of its kind in Australia.

“We searched to see what other pharmacies were doing around Australia before we began work on this site and found some that were interested in pushing their marketing message but none that were interested in sharing important health information as Clive and Kerry do on their site.”

The Tourism Slump Hits Local Business

A combination of a less than stellar whale season followed by bad weather over the Christmas holidays has certainly placed quite a bit of pressure on some tourist related businesses in Hervey Bay and in the past month  we’ve seen two more local businesses shut up shop. The well-known Bayview Motel has closed and the Fighting Whiting is no longer available for fishing charters.

The Fighting Whiting is for sale but in these tough times it’s unlikely to attract much interest.

Crunch Day Ahead for Centro

Wednesday is crunch day for Centro for it’s on that day that the company either has to get approval from the banks to extend their debt repayment or go into receivership.

If the banks do give Centro extra time then the company has a chance to sell off a number of the shopping complexes that it lists as assets. Centro Hervey Bay will not be one of them though for ownership of that complex here in town is shared between Centro and another retail investor who apparently holds an option to buy out Centro’s share.

You can read the full story here on the Sydney Morning Herald’s website.


Is Development Slowing in Hervey Bay?

Back on February 8 Strewth asked if the development bubble had burst here in Hervey Bay, something that the Gossip has been wondering about for some months now. Several times we’ve mentioned that there has been a slowdown for small business here in town and pointed to the slow take up of some commercial developments as a sign that things are not going as well for Hervey Bay as it might otherwise appear.

It’s been known for a while that the last whale watching season was not as good for operators as previous seasons have been. Then we had the wet weather over Christmas that really hurt a number of the tourism related businesses here in town. Poor tourist seasons have a flow-on effect for the rest of the town and if thathose poor seasons weren’t bad enough other factors have also had an impact here.

The upwards creep in interest rates, the cessation of work on the Centro expansions and the collapse of a major building contractor hasn’t helped the situation either so we seem to be in for some interesting times in the months ahead and perhaps we really will see a slowdown in development here in Hervey Bay.

So let’s take a look at some of the affected areas around Hervey Bay.

No work on a resort in Hervey Bay
The resort site in Freshwater Street Hervey Bay that has seen no work since the fencing went up just after Christmas.

Resort construction in Hervey Bay
One of two construction sites between the Esplanade and Watson Street Pialba. This site seems to have some work going on while work on the other may have stopped.

Construction work on the University of Southern Queensland in Hervey Bay
Courses at the University of Southern Queensland here in Hervey Bay may have been slashed but construction work on the extensions is still proceeding. There were workers on site when this photo was taken last Saturday.

Luizzi Street commercial development
A commercial development in Luizzi Street Hervey Bay that was completed in October. Of the nine units available in the development only three are occupied. Construction of a proposed new development across the road has not yet begun.

Empty commercial premises in Central Avenue Hervey Bay
These units in Central Avenue Hervey Bay were completed late last year … all of them remain unoccupied.

And out at the industrial estate at the airport things aren’t much different. There’s a lot of empty land, a few commercial complexes going up, one or two that have been occupied and others like this one.

Commercial property for sale or lease at the Hervey Bay airport

It certainly seems that development has slowed here in Hervey Bay and you would have to wonder if other developments along the Esplanade will now proceed.

Fraser Street corner in Hervey Bay
Is the redevelopment of the corner of Fraser Street and the Esplanade still to go ahead? A few of the affected shops are empty but nothing more appears to be happening.

Unfortunately this is a town that depends on development so things may not be too bright for Hervey Bay in the short term. And that ‘term’ may be longer than many might hope for because we’re now about to become part of a much larger regional council area and the needs of this area will have to be balanced with the needs of the other areas that are to be amalgamated with Hervey Bay.

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Strewth is Back

It’s good to see that Strewth – the blog that throws a light on the less attractive side of Hervey Bay politics and local development – is back after a short break. It’s also good to see that it doesn’t seem to have lost any of its sting.

I was interested to see that the Gossip even rated a mention when one contributor referred to a rather unpleasant episode late last year when someone thought it would be smart to post a comment on Strewth in my name. It’s nice to know that my ramblings here seem to get under someone’s skin.

In that reference to the Gossip on the latest edition of Strewth the contributor also referred to a post I made on September 26 2005 about the Urangan Beach Front in which I made some rather unflattering comments about Peppers. Thanks Jonangel for reminding me of what I said; interestingly now that it’s built I haven’t changed my mind about that development at all.

It may not be quite the eyesore that it was when it was being built but it certainly hasn’t been the great boon to the local economy that some might have hoped. Just ask some of the small business people who, instead of finding that their businesses have boomed because of Peppers, have found that they’ve actually lost money instead.

All that Peppers really seems to have done for Hervey Bay is to pull in other developers and property groups and push up commercial rents to the point where local businesses simply can’t afford to stay in business. And if you doubt that all you have to do is take a drive along Main Street Pialba, Liuzzi Street and Bay Drive to see how many ‘For Lease’ signs are on display.

In Liuzzi Street a new development of 10 units that opened in mid-October still only has three tenants. The new commercial units in Bay Drive have been available for several months and still have no tenants and down in Main Street very high rents have kept quite a few shops opposite Pialba Place vacant for many months.

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The Future of Centro Hervey Bay

The end seems near for the Centro group of companies now that trading in Centro shares has been halted on the stock exchange. You can read that story here

What that will mean for Centro Hervey Bay and the extensions that were started before Christmas is anyone’s guess but the site was open last week although there didn’t seem to be much work being done there (that could have been due to the wet weather).

 Perhaps we’ll see more work on site if the weather clears up during this coming week.