Busi­nesses suf­fer as town gets up­grade

Central Leader - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - SHANI WIL­LIAMS

Dis­rup­tions caused by Mt Al­bert road works are hit­ting busi­nesses in the pocket – with one los­ing 70 per cent of daily turnover.

Mt Al­bert’s $6.5 mil­lion town cen­tre up­grade will fea­ture wider foot­paths, bet­ter light­ing, cy­cle lanes and more bus shel­ters.

But busi­nesses are strug­gling, with con­struc­tion af­fect­ing park­ing and noise and dust de­ter­ring cus­tomers.

Al­bert-Eden Lo­cal Board chair­man Pe­ter Haynes said the Mt Al­bert town cen­tre was run down and, with the prospect of St Lukes mall dou­bling in size, the up­grade was ur­gent.

‘‘Small changes won’t make the dif­fer­ence needed - ma­jor trans­for­ma­tional change is the only op­tion,’’ Haynes said.

Man­war Kam, whose fam­ily runs the Mt Al­bert BBQ Noo­dle House, said the busi­ness would not sur­vive an­other eight months in these con­di­tions.

Kam said its daily turnover had dropped by 70 per cent.

‘‘Most of our cus­tomers or­der take­away - if they are un­able to park eas­ily, they do not bother com­ing.’’

Kam said his par­ents were frus­trated at the slow pace of con­struc­tion.

‘‘For more than two weeks we saw no work­ers and now the work­ers turn up at 7am and do not do any­thing but move cones and clean the trac­tor wind­screen,’’ he said.

Mt Al­bert Vil­lage Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion co-chair Kev Carter said from June 28 to July 12 road works stopped as Water­care re­paired a water mains but work was back on track.

Man­ager of Bos­ton Bak­ery Steve Chea said if the project did not speed up the bak­ery would not sur­vive - but the spirit of the com­mu­nity gave him hope.

Res­i­dents have started a cam­paign, where they share their ex­pe­ri­ence of shop­ping lo­cal on so­cial me­dia - en­cour­ag­ing others to do the same.

The cam­paign had been help­ful, Chea said.

For ex­am­ple, Glad­stone Pri­mary School had changed its sup­plier and started pur­chas­ing food from the Bos­ton Bak­ery.

Chea said the com­pleted project would look nice but he was con­cerned about the per­ma­nent loss of park­ing spa­ces.

‘‘We had 11 car spa­ces but when the project is com­pleted we will only have seven,’’ he said.

Haynes said the up­grade would re­move a to­tal of 38 carparks.

The up­grade was ex­pected to be com­pleted by Fe­bru­ary.

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