The Port Kembla Town Centre Façade Program has improved the appearance of the streetscape by activating street frontages, while celebrating the heritage and character of the Town Centre. Research suggests that high quality facades and shopfronts encourage people to spend more time in attractive surrounds and directly and indirectly improve perceptions of safety. Studies from around the world have shown that improved streetscapes have a strong correlation with low vacancy rates.
Businesses and landowners were encouraged to upgrade their facades in the Town Centre through a matched financial incentive under the program. They had to submit applications for refunds of up to $20,000 under funding deeds with Wollongong City Council, with 16 successful applicants.
The project has seen more than $480,000 injected into improvements to the Port Kembla streetscape. Council estimates that the overall private contribution was more than $295,000 and some applicants spent more on their projects than were required under the matched funding arrangement.
Under the program clear urban and architectural design guidance was provided to ensure upgrades conserve the character of the Town Centre using a Design Guide.