Centre Of Attention

By Kate Pierson


It’s all about the pulling power. No, we’re not making reference to James Bond’s lady luring charisma, or any provocative or sensational gimmicks to command attention. Pulling power in this context is all about the strategic ambitions of one civic association striving to introduce a cultural campaign with magnetism.

Working actively with the Hamilton City Council, on behalf of central business district companies to increase the pulling power of Hamilton’s city centre, the Hamilton Central Business Association (HCBA) wants to enhance the commercial, retail and hospitality sectors of this region.

The HCBA chairman, Arthur Pitcher says the council saw a need to revive the city centre. “With the development of suburban malls, city centre’s here in New Zealand and around the world have gone through somewhat of an identity crisis, experiencing a loss of foot traffic.

“The association is going to work to bring things within the Hamilton City Centre to life and encourage people to come into Garden Place. It’s about finding the right formula that can pull people in.”

So what will this campaign entail?

“This process will involve redesigning Garden Place to make it more culturally compatible with the activities on offer. We want to make our centre city more alive,” Pitcher says.

“Ultimately, city centres are very attractive because they have a unique feel and offer boutique and individual styles, as well as historic building sites for viewing.”

With an elected executive committee at the helm of this campaign, the HCBA will advance:

  • Advocacy with council
  • Coordinated marketing
  • Beautification in the CBD
  • Parking issues
  • Increasing security and safety
  • Strategic development of the CBD.

A number of projects have been on the association’s radar since inception:

  • Free street parking on weekends
    The council and HCBA are working together on this initiative. This co-ordinated effort has been the catalyst for a free on street parking trial until the end of 2011
  • Craft and Quilt Fair 2009
    This fair attracts 25,000 people, nationally and internationally, to the city each year. This event provided an opportunity for the HCBA to draw exhibitors into the city and to publish a full page map of central city streets and key shopping locations in the event programme
  • All Blacks/South Africa Rugby Test Match
    The 2009 Tri Nations Test saw a Mastercard Promotion extend an opportunity to all Hamilton businesses to dress up the city. Many hospitality and retail operators around the city centre took up this challenge with verve
  • Summer in Garden Place – pre Christmas
    The HCBA contributed to a free bus service operating in the central city (all routes, all day long) for the three Saturdays leading up to Christmas 2009. The association also sponsored ‘Fun Stop in Garden Place’ on December 19, to provide entertainment for families coming into the city to shop and dine.


For more information on the Hamilton Central Business Association visit www.hamilton.co.nz


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