GOD SAVE THE QUEEN ST TRADERS
SHOPS SUFFER LOSSES DUE TO BARRIERS IN PLACE DURING TREE REMOVAL
St Marys shop owners such as Catherine Davie say they are struggling to recover from disruptions caused by extensive council works in Queen St, which included the widespread culling of mature trees (inset).
CONSTRUCTION fences may be down in Queen St, but it is all too late for many business owners who have been suffering financially since upgrades on St Marys Town Centre began.
Penrith Council started upgrading Queen St in September, replacing footpaths trees and lighting.
Catherine Davie of Cath’s Cakes has been working on Queen St for more than 12 years and has never experienced disruption like this.
“I have had to refinance my home and put off casual staff, because of these big fences that council have put up people think we are closed,” Mrs Davie said.
“I have lost about 40 per cent of my business since the upgrades began . . . but talking to other businesses some of them have been down about 80 per cent,” she said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the businesses close because of this.”
Lisa Jay of The Bridal Outlet said the disruptions had been detrimental to her business too.
“I am relieved the fences are finally down and now people can see us. Our business has suffered a lot financially since these constructions began last year,” she said.
Mrs Davie said she had little sympathy from Penrith Council and was now seeking compensation.
“We have had disruption to phone and internet service. No water to our shop for four hours on the 17th November ... which of course has flow-on effects,” she said.
“Our weekly takings are down almost $3000 per week.”
A spokesman for the council said it would not be giving compensation to businesses.
“Compensation is not available to businesses that are impacted by public works from any level of Government and this has been explained to businesses throughout the process,” the spokesman said.
“The completion of the works are going to be a win for everybody and it’s going to look fantastic.”
The spokesman said the council had put strategies in place to assist businesses during the upgrades.
“We do recognise that in the meantime there will be inconvenience and possible impacts on business. We are doing what we can to minimise that at every oppor- tunity,” he said. “We also have a monthly meeting with businesses as well as facilitating a direct link between businesses and the contractors on site.”
St Marys Town Centre manager Paulette Adams said they have been working with the council in order to provide solutions for these issues.
“We will have signage go up for individual businesses as well as our large banners letting people know we are ‘open for business’,” Mrs Adams said.
She said the temporary fences had also led to increased graffiti.
Penrith Council has been working on upgrades to Queen St, as shown last week and (inset) how it used to look.