CBD traders look to the good times as plans unveiled
WHEN pharmacist Bob Slater set up a Green Spot Chemist in Bell St in 1979 the city centre was a bustling place.
The Ipswich Library was located in the Health Plaza building and the council was based in the Town Hall.
Mr Slater moved to his current location in the mall, now as owner of Discount Drug Stores Ipswich, when Woolworths moved from Bell St to its current location in 1987.
As chairman of the CBD Traders Association Mr Slater has seen a number of concept plans for the city centre but the commitment to relocate the council administration and Ipswich library into the mall was as Mayor Paul Pisasale described, a "game-changer".
As reported in Saturday's QT council has voted in favour of relocating its 650 staff and the library to the mall as part of a $150 million Retail Stage One.
"That is a major improvement. That will bring a lot of people back into town. That is what we need," Mr Slater said.
"There has been an exodus ever since Riverlink opened.
"The foresight of the council to do this; it is unheard of in Australia. This is what has been needed all along. Ipswich needs its heart back."
Mr Slater said the closure of city financial institutions also caused a lot of pain for CBD traders. However he said he knew the CBD would go through a resurgence.
"When council took over, that was a big reason to stay because I could see there was going to be a future," he said.
"The GFC really slowed things down. This should have been going five years ago."
However with an 18 month build for Retail Stage One, Mr Slater said the pain was not yet over.
He said his pharmacy would likely move further up the mall.
"They will have to get me out of here with a crow bar," he said. "After going through all of this pain I'm not going to give up when the good times come."