FUTURE VISION: There are fears the vacancy rates of the Toowoomba CBD will continue to rise if a plan isn't implemented.
FUTURE VISION: There are fears the vacancy rates of the Toowoomba CBD will continue to rise if a plan isn't implemented. Alexia Austin

Residents on our ghost-like CBD: 'Parking is a nightmare'

TOOWOOMBA residents have discussed ways to revive the city's CBD after The Chronicle revealed high store vacancy rates on Margaret and Ruthven streets.

A report released last month showed the Toowoomba CBD had a vacancy rate of 18.66 per cent, a figure described as "enormous" by a local real estate consultant.

On a post to The Chronicle's Facebook page, many residents cited parking as being a factor in the precinct's demise.

"Parking is a nightmare - council car parks are too far from the shops and expensive," Dawn Barber wrote on the Facebook post.

"Grand Central is undercover and the first three hours are free."

"I don't mind paying for parking if I can get a park to start with," Jessie Cutler said.

Residents used the post to discuss plans to rejuvenate the area and draw in customers.

"Mall in the CBD, make it into a cultural fiesta of bars, clubs and cute coffee shops," Lauren Huskisson said on the post.

"Bring in street entertainment and high rise the parking areas and make it affordable."

"Turn the city centre into a huge mall like Brisbane city," Ben Chalmers said.

"Make high rise parking - or underground, whatever works."

"The solution for Toowoomba CBD is the same as every other small city or regional town CBD that is going broke: people!" Edward Gilmour said.

"Build economic student apartments and retiree accommodation apartments above existing or new shops.

"Then for a change, try only charging reasonable commercial lease rents to the shop owners."

Other residents reminisced about the CBD in busier times.

"When I first moved here in 2001 Margaret St was lovely. It had lovely hanging baskets of flowers underneath all the verandas," Cathy Harris-Brennan said.

"There was plenty of variety in the shops and nice variety of eateries. Lovely atmosphere and free parking.

"Pity it has changed so much."

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