Press Release – Jackson Street Programme
The Jackson Street Programme will be embarking on a review of all its activities without its manager Robert Hutton. Programme chair Leonie Dobbs says she has accepted Mr Hutton’s resignation, which takes effect today, with regret.
“Robert has made a big contribution, both in his role as manager for the last four years and for seven years before that as a member of the board. For many people he has been the face of the programme.”
Ms Dobbs says Mr Hutton’s departure has come at a pivotal time for the programme, which is about to embark on a survey of Petone retailers and landlords to find out what they want from the JSP in the future.
“When the programme began 20 years ago, Jackson Street was run-down and depressed. The aim was to revitalise the street and make it an attractive shopping destination,” she says.
“I think it is fair to say that we have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. Nearly every week there’s an article in the outside media telling positive stories about Petone and attracting visitors and shoppers to the street. Petone has become really quite trendy.
“But we can’t rest on our laurels. It’s no secret that some retailers are struggling. Also the whole street needs to be prepared to meet the challenge posed by the Hutt City Council’s Plan Change 29.”
Ms Dobbs says the JSP will be developing a new strategic plan, based on the feedback it gets from stakeholders, as well as the experience of other successful Main Street initiatives in New Zealand and overseas. This will then be presented to stakeholders for feedback and endorsement.
The JSP is funded by Jackson Street commercial property owners through a special levy on their rates.
“This levy comes up for review in April, when ratepayers will be polled by the Hutt City Council to find out whether they want to continue funding the programme.”
Ms Dobbs says this is entirely appropriate. “After 20 years, we need to have a fresh look at everything we do and see if there are ways we can better meet the needs of retailers, property owners and the wider Petone community.”
Today was Mr Hutton’s last day of work (subs: Friday 22 February). Ms Dobbs says the JSP board will not be advertising for a new manager until it is certain that its new strategic plan has the support of stakeholders.
A part-time administrator will be employed in the meantime.