THE future is now - or almost now, at least - for Bathurst's shopping precinct.
Bathurst Regional Council has confirmed it is about to start work on a master plan for the central business district that better reflects the changing nature of retail in this country.
The rise of online shopping has not only been a challenge for traditional bricks and mortar business owners, it is now also proving a challenge for town planners and councils.
We need to start thinking now about a CBD with fewer shops and fewer shoppers to come up with a plan to ensure the centre of our city does not become a ghost town.
Such a plan would likely include more "experiences" in the CBD rather than retail options, ideally built on more eateries, galleries and public plazas.
The good news is, the plan has already started.
Council has already had representations from Charles Sturt University about its plans to establish a new campus in the CBD and it's hard to imagine a single project that could more radically transform the area.
A CSU campus would bring hundreds of students and staff into the centre of the city and create an entirely different atmosphere.
A university campus would also include its own public spaces and cafes, and a cosmopolitan feel that must be high on the agenda for any new CBD.
But council is not sitting back and relying on CSU to do all the heavy lifting in this space.
Bathurst was last year identified as one of seven key emerging innovation precincts across NSW, offering another insight into the city of the future.
It was not only fitting recognition of the work currently under way to make Bathurst a smart city, but will also act as a promotional tool to encourage further investment in the region.
And as one of only three centres west of the Great Dividing Range included on the list, Bathurst is well placed to benefit as companies inevitably look outside of the Sydney basin for more affordable expansion opportunities.
But this has not happened by accident. Council has worked hard to boost our smart city credentials, supported by forward-thinking industry representatives.
It's all about embracing change and embracing the future - and ensuring Bathurst remains a leader for regional NSW.