Outlook positive despite shutdown
More works planned after Easter holiday
DESPITE major disruption to New Norfolk’s shopping district caused by the demolition of the Lee building, the atmosphere at a public meeting held last week to discuss the affects, was largely positive.
The Lee building, which housed the Banjos, Choo Chews and Sintonic shops, had to be razed after it was damaged by fire last month.
The demolition work has caused significant disruption, with High and Burnett streets closed for days, restricting access to businesses in the main street.
Despite the negative flow on affects of the fire the meeting, held at the council and attended by 60 people, had a positive atmosphere with business owners and community members focusing on the future and how to move forward.
Retravision’s Mal Geard began the discussion in the packed room, by congratulating the hard work of the fire fighters, police and SES volunteers who fought to get the fire under control in the early hours of the morning.
Mr Geard also applauded the efforts of the Cheeky Little Place cafe and the Top of the Town Bakery operators, who provided free hot coffees to those who had worked so tirelessly to get the blaze under control and prevented it from spreading to other buildings.
High St will now have to be closed again to allow for the demolition of the slab at the site, which has also been identified as being contaminated with asbestos.
The demolition was meant to have begun on Monday, and close High St for two to three days but works have been delayed.
‘‘We have put a request into Workplace Standards that the demolition not begin until after Easter,’’ Mayor Martin Evans said yesterday.
‘‘The lead up to Easter is one of the busiest times for retailers and we don’t want to see High St blocked at this time, if at all possible.
‘‘Ultimately Workplace Standards will make that decision though.’’
Council general manager Stephen Mackey said a 10m exclusion zone was required during any demolition process to ensure the public’s safety.
Mr Mackey said the council was well aware of the impact on businesses in the central business district and would ensure streets were opened up as soon as possible.
The meeting was called by New Norfolk Business Al- liance president, Ray Williams, who said he was pleased by the outcome.
‘‘I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of upset, especially from those who are suffering,’’ Mr Williams said.
‘‘There was an uplifting spirit with a focus on how to move on, not focus on the doom and gloom,’’ Mr Williams said.
‘‘It was encouraging to see so many people from across the community there, including business owners, employees and other concerned residents.’’
Mr Williams said the council addressed many issues the alliance had concerns about, and hoped they would continue to communicate with business operators in the CBD.