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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.


Pic­tures: MATT SUL­LI­VAN

Pen­rith Coun­cil has been work­ing on up­grades to Queen St, as shown last week and (in­set) how it used to look.

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