Boost for Nairne

The Mt Barker Council’s $350,000 plan to beautify Nairne’s main street is a step towards building a more lively and prosperous town.
The perception that Nairne has been the poorer, forgotten cousin of Mt Barker for more than a decade is understandable.
The once thriving town fell into decline when the Chapman’s Smallgoods factory at the eastern end of the main street shut in 2002.
The factory was the lifeblood of Nairne and provided local employment to hundreds of people for more than a century.
Since its closure the main street has become tired and lacks business vibrancy despite Nairne being home to more than 5000 people.
Residents from housing areas at the western side of town have no need to visit the main street as it has no supermarket and few shops to match the offerings in nearby Littlehampton or Mt Barker.
Consequently, Nairne traders have struggled to attract shoppers and further investment. The problem compounded in on itself and Nairne became a classic example of a dying town.
The trees, benches and footpaths proposed in the main street plan may be small in the overall scheme of things but what they can bring is a new sense of worth for the town.
A new street with more energy, attracting new traffic and new businesses may well be the catalyst to allow Nairne to shine on its own and step out of the shadow of Mt Barker.
With that comes the potential for Nairne to trade on its own identity, tell its own story, make itself a destination rather than a speed hump to somewhere else and take control of its future.
A key to the whole main street investment will be the building of a new Klose’s supermarket on the disused Chapman’s factory site. This plan still has a few hurdles to overcome before it becomes a reality but its development is vital to the future prosperity of the town.
Having a supermarket in the main street will inject both significant funds and a plethora of possibilities into the town.
It is comforting to know that Nairne already has a dynamic and passionate community base from which to launch its journey into the rest of this century.