Mark McDonald, with property listings, says Tin Can Bay businesses are under stress.
Mark McDonald, with property listings, says Tin Can Bay businesses are under stress. Renee Pilcher

Tough for Tin Can Bay businesses

ON the back of the global financial crisis small businesses in Tin Can Bay and Cooloola Cove are doing it extremely tough Tin Can Bay News owner Mark McDonald claimed this week.

Mr McDonald who has run a business in the small fishing community for 16 years said shop after shop in the Dolphin Shopping Complex, where his business is located, had been closing its doors.

More recently a butcher shop closed and the hardware store consolidated into their other premises in the Tin Can Bay industrial estate.

Other businesses are only in the shopping complex part-time, he said.

“All businesses here are under enormous pressure or closed their door,” Mr McDonald a former Tin Can Bay Chamber of Commerce president said.

But it isn’t just businesses in Tin Can Bay that are under stress, a take-away shop in the new Cooloola Cove shopping complex (near Woolworths) has closed its doors this week.

After paying SQM Research to compile a report, on properties in Tin Can Bay and Cooloola Cove for sale for more than two months, Mr McDonald couldn’t believe his eyes when 64 pages with six listings each spat out of his printer. Some of the listings, which included vacant land as well as homes, were doubled up he agreed but there were hundreds that were up for sale.

Although he said it may be a great time to buy into the market with some home prices dramatically reduced but Mr McDonald was more concerned with why people wanted to “evacuate” or sell up.

And the answer, he said, was the coastal region didn’t offer people the same services or job opportunities as Gympie or other regional centres.

“The fishing industry is under pressure.

“The global financial crisis took the top off the ice cream first and now it’s down into the cone, where my customers live.”

Mr McDonald said a lot of his customers were self-funded retirees who were hit hard when interest rates dropped after the crisis.

“We all got bitten but my concern is with our community and people are hurting for support.

“The unity has gone out of the community in the region. Sadly we’ve got this great divide.”

Add to all that mortgage stress, he said, and you don’t get a pretty outlook for the region.

Mr McDonald said most of the community was above the median age of Queensland and projections showed by 2011 the median age of Tin Can Bay would be about 55.

The requirements of people aged over 50, he said, would increase beyond what Tin Can Bay now offered and would make them “want to bail”.

Mr McDonald said as the needs of the community rose he didn’t know how businesses would accommodate them, as the community needed to in turn support businesses.

“We’re starting to enter a vicious cycle.”

Gympie Regional Council Mayor Ron Dyne said he understood people in Tin Can Bay, Cooloola Cove and Rainbow Beach were doing it tough as was the whole region.

To help that and to get more business to move to the coastal region council is looking at opening up more industrial land in the Tin Can Bay industrial estate, Cr Dyne said.

But short of the State Government opening up more land, as 43 per cent of the area was crown land the State Government owned, he said, there wasn’t too much council could do.

“It doesn’t happen over night when in negotiations with the State Government,” he said.

Cr Dyne said more industrial land would attract more job opportunities and more people to move to the area.

He said there was a lot of land for sale in Cooloola Cove because of new subdivisions. But he didn’t doubt people were doing it tough business wise as consumers had “tightened their belts”.

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