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Ideas flow for vibrant Wellington town centres
February 14, 2022

Business owners led one of Australia's leading placemaking experts through Wellington Shire town centres last week to look at how they could be made as vibrant and lively as possible.  

Gilbert Rochecouste from Village Well conducted town centre audits with business operators in Maffra and Sale, pointing out ways to best activate public spaces.  

Wellington Shire Council organised the visit as part of a series of online and in-person workshops with Mr Rochecouste to help local businesses across the Shire reset for 2022 and re-energise with new ideas following extended lockdown periods.

Mr Rochecouste's impressive resume includes repositioning Chadstone Shopping Centre as a fashion capital, as well as playing a big role in the rejuvenation of Melbourne CBD's famous laneways.  

Wellington Shire Council Mayor Ian Bye said it was great for business operators to hear from a leading expert in town centre activation.  

"We want all our town centres to be vibrant places where people want to come and shop, eat and drink, or just spend their time enjoying the public spaces," Cr Bye said.  

"Many businesses are still getting back on their feet after the Covid lockdowns over the past couple of years, so it was a fantastic opportunity for them to be able to share their ideas about our town centres with Gilbert, who is an expert in that field.  

"He also had plenty of ideas that he shared with us, whether it be in how a particular area could be used, or how it could look, or how it could connect with nearby public spaces."

While Mr Rochecouste’s visit took in Maffra and Sale, the workshops were open to business operators from all towns across Wellington Shire.

Cr Bye encouraged business owners and associations to contact Wellington Shire Council’s Economic Development team on 1300 366 244 to discuss business support available.

Gilbert Rochecouste (centre) visited Maffra’s town centre to highlight potential areas of activation.

Art projects were discussed as ways to liven up CBD streets during Gilbert Rochecouste’s visit.

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