Albury Business Connect chairman Barry Young says no mask requirement have helped city businesses | The Border Mail


The head of Albury’s business representative body says there is no doubt Victorians are coming across the border in large numbers to avoid wearing masks and helping CBD traders begin the fightback from COVID-19 impacts such as the border closure. Albury Business Connect chairman Barry Young made the observation as part of a presentation to Albury Council on Monday night along with the group’s general manager, Carrick Gill-Vallance. “In my time retailing in Dean Street, I don’t think I’ve seen the city as vibrant as it is at the moment,” Mr Young said. IN OTHER NEWS “We are getting a lot of traffic coming to Albury, particularly from North-East Victoria, because of the mask situation, but we are also getting a lot visitation from along the river, Cobram, Tocumwal, Hay, Wagga. “Masks are one thing, but if the offer is not right, masks won’t make a difference. “The feedback I’m getting is people are coming to stay for a night, spend a day shopping and have been really surprised by the offer Albury is presenting at the moment.” Albury mayor Kevin Mack also commented on the CBD state of play. “There are a few shops empty, but to be honest I think the were empty before COVID-19,” he said. Cr Graham Docksey also implored his council colleagues to standby Albury Business Connect with its current level of financial assistance by publicly referencing Wodonga Council’s decision to cut funding to its city business representative group. The Albury group made a $137,000 profit last financial year, up on the forecast profit of $22,000 and all attributed to COVID; It had $25,000 of unspent money due to the inability to host events, $$40,000 in unspent wages and $50,000 in government assistance and JobKeeper. “If COVID didn’t happen we were on track to making our forecasted profit,” Mr Gill-Vallance said. He said the surplus would be re-invested in computer software upgrades “so we can do more of what we should be doing which is advocating, more business development with our members and growing that membership base”. Albury Business Connect presently has 379 members, down from six-year average of 415, largely due to COVID. It has also undergone a recent re-branding from Albury-Northside Chamber to Albury Business Connect and welcomed three new board members from six applications.