Bega Valley Shire CouncilBega Valley Shire Council

'Renew the Valley'

Calling for Creative Ideas

Logo Renew the Valley.

‘Renew the Valley’ is a project that has commenced in partnership with Bega Valley Shire Council and ‘Renew Australia’.  Basically, we are bringing the successful Renew Australia model to the Bega Valley as a way to stimulate town centres, commercial activity, community confidence and creative interest.

‘Renew the Valley’ aims to:

  • Activate vacant commercial and retail spaces, through bringing vibrancy back into our town centres.
  • Promote the Bega Valley to our local audience and visitor audience
  • Connect, build and support creative enterprise

What are we calling for?

We’re looking for people with a creative talent who want to try a business idea of their own.

The Renew the Valley project is calling for members of our local community who ‘make what they do’.  Projects are required to meet the following criteria:

  • They need to be locally made, or have a distinctive local interest
  • They need to bring positive community, tourist or investor interest into the commercial centre.
  • They are not to compete with existing businesses.

What sort of projects could be used in an empty space?

Examples of projects could include:

  • Local jewellery makers
  • Local clothing / design items
  • Local graphic design or web based services
  • Local art / photography / gallery opportunities
  • Local crafts

Food and beverage projects will not be eligible for the program.

How do I apply, and what is the process?

We have a number of properties available for the program at present.

Renew Australia in partnership with Council will review all applications and shortlist applicants with spaces available.  Shortlisted applicants will then be asked to come in for an informal interview so we can best understand your ideas and needs, and have a look through the spaces available. We have a number of spaces that are quite large and would suite a group. If you are interested in sharing a space, let us know.

As further properties become available, we will re-open the Expression of Interest process. 

To apply, please submit your expression of interest on the following form:

More information about the program.

What is the Renew Australia model?

Renew Australia is a new national social enterprise designed to catalyse community renewal, economic development, and creative industries across Australia. It works with communities and property owners to take otherwise empty shops, offices, commercial and public buildings and make them available to incubate short term use for  creative projects and community initiatives which will aim to stimulate foot traffic in the commercial area, and increase interest and confidence in the retail sector.   A key aim of Renew Australia is to bring transitional buildings to life again.

Renew Australia originated in Newcastle in 2008 as a low cost, low budget DIY urban renewal scheme that has proved highly successful and generated significant media and community interest locally, nationally and internationally.

Through a simple strategy based on the temporary and low cost creative activation of empty buildings in the Newcastle CBD, significant parts of Newcastle have been transformed. Less than two years later, as the direct result of Renew Newcastle’s activities, more than 70 new businesses and initiatives had been seeded and Newcastle was hailed by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit in 2011 due to the exciting, eclectic creative community that had been seeded there.

The whole idea of a ‘Renew’ project is to use spaces that are temporarily empty to incubate experimentation and foot traffic within town centres as a way of stimulating activity.

How does the model work?

Renew Australia brings transitional buildings to life again. Property owners license their buildings to Renew Australia while they have no tenants or are awaiting development, using a 30-day rolling licence agreement.  Renew Australia manages the short-term use of the buildings, they cover Public Liability, they can assist with basic maintenance (a fresh coat of paint, a clean, and fixing up the broken windows), and they cover basic insurances while the buildings are in Renew Australia’s care.

Renew Australia supports the property owner to the maximum extent possible to ensure that their involvement is tax effective and their contribution is seen as a positive contribution to the community. We will work with you to ensure that the building is matched to a use that is appropriate and adds value to the building and its surrounds. Renew Australia then finds ‘custodians’ who use the buildings for cultural, creative and community purposes that will create community and investor interest, until the owner finds a permanent tenant or a redevelopment is ready to proceed. We believe that activity is the single most important factor in turning around vandalism and decay of a vacant space.

Key points of the Renew model:

  • There is no cost to property owners to participate.
  • A Licence Agreement is signed between the property owner (or representative) and Renew Australia. An agreement is then signed between Renew Australia and the participant.
  • A 30-day rolling licence agreement is used; therefore, if the owner finds a tenant, or is ready to proceed with development of their property, the project participant can be given 30 days’ notice to vacate the premises.
  • A licence agreement is used as it specifies the times the project participant can access and make use of the property as agreed by all parties, and outlines the use of property.
  • The project participant pays $20/week to Renew Australia, to cover insurance, and in addition pays for water and electricity use.
  • Renew Australia liaises directly with the project participant to minimise the need to contact owners or agents.

Why is Bega Valley Shire Council interested in this program?

Bega Valley Shire Council recognises the challenges faced by the retail sector, and the impacts of empty shop fronts on community and investor confidence.   Council believes that initiatives such Renew can assist in creating a renewed interest in town centres, and create greater foot traffic.   A key aim of this project is to have your empty commercial space more attractive to prospective tenants and investors.  Through a partnership with Renew Australia we are able to bring the skills and resources to invest in a project that has the legal framework to protect property owners, and support the community in developing a creative profile.

How are the projects participants chosen?

Renew Australia, in partnership with Bega Valley Shire Council, will run an Expression of Interest (EOI) to call for project participants who have a suitable creative project to run in your empty space.  Key criteria of a project will be that it has community value and has a strong potential to add to the renewal of the commercial area.   Property owners will be presented with a shortlist of project potentials and will have the final say on what happens within their property.  All project participants are made aware that they are on a 30 day rolling licence, and can be given 30 days’ notice at any point. This project is about trying creative ideas and stimulating our commercial zones; if a project is successful and requires security, it’s recommended they negotiate a commercial lease.

More information?

Please contact:
Business Growth Unit via email:
Or phone: 6499 2222

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