One of the biggest concerns for Shoalhaven residents is the slow death of our towns and villages. CBDs in Nowra and Ulladulla are losing out to larger, shinier developments, such as Shellharbour.
Greenfield developments by large corporations such as Woolworths mean that the traditional businesses on which we all rely find it harder and harder to operate, and that impacts on unemployment, on services and facilities for residents and on keeping our Shoalhaven a place where young families will want to come and make a future.
One, relatively cheap, measure to overcome this is to give people a reason to come into the towns – and free Wi-Fi just might provide that spark of life. Free Wi-Fi in council premises and in public places would offer people access to the world, via the internet, that not all residents currently have. People in our area often need to create work, rather than find work. That will be much easier with free, equitable access to Wi-Fi. Pop-ups and internet start-ups will be accessible for the population. Not everyone has a computer at home. How much easier to fill in necessary forms, for example, with a great coffee from one of Shoalhaven’s brilliant coffee shops. How much easier to access services and make appointments, if you have ready access to Wi-Fi. How much easier to stay connected with reliable, free internet access. Social connection means social cohesion.
Bringing tourists into the shops over summer (and throughout the year) because they can access the Wi-Fi they expect in big cities will be a boost for businesses, and that means a boost for employment. Our towns will go back to being vibrant, dynamic places where people can meet, work and play, and enjoy the benefits of an urban area within our precious coastal environments. We should have free Wi-Fi in Nowra, Bomaderry, Huskisson, Milton and Ulladulla.
There are great opportunities here for business and Council to work together. Let’s do what we can to keep business local. Let’s put free Wi-Fi into our towns and villages, and add the spark of life.