FOLLOWING a Barr government commitment of $13.9m to make Braddon and Dickson more “accessible and more attractive”, Braddon businesses are questioning whether there are better things that the money should be spent on.
Braddon’s United Retailers and Traders (BURT) say the fast-tracking of $13 million of works in Braddon and Dickson should help recovery after the smoky summer and coronavirus shutdowns as long as priority is given to projects that are known to be needed by both businesses and customers.
They are now calling for consultation with the government to avoid unintended negative consequences.
The calls come after Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced the upgrades this morning (June 3), saying: “The first stage of works include Lonsdale Street, Braddon, between Cooyong and Girrawheen streets, and Woolley Street, Dickson. The upgrades will improve parking and active travel options and provide better connections to neighbouring areas and the light rail.
“Designs for the upgrades will draw upon the Braddon and Dickson Place Plans, completed by the City Renewal Authority in 2019, which included pedestrian-friendly footpaths, new street furniture, improved lighting and higher quality landscaping.
“This investment will also provide new public space plans for the broader Dickson and Braddon commercial precincts and the next stage of detailed design and construction in each area.”
The Braddon’s United Retailers and Traders have identified some key concerns over the past few days, and BURT spokesperson Kel Watt said these include:
- Convenient car parking for clients and customers
- Safe and secure car parking for staff
- Better placed loading zones and traffic planning
- Outdoor seating and dining areas
- Improved connection with public transport and bicycle lanes
Business owners also want guarantees that capital works will not drive customers away, which occurred during the many months of Bunda Street upgrades in Civic, Mr Watt said.
“The goal of beautification is welcome, but without practical solutions to infrastructure pressures and well-executed construction strategies, there is a risk some businesses could effectively face a third shutdown in just a few months. No business is placed to survive months of footpath and scaffolding chaos after the massive financial downturns experienced since before Christmas,” Mr Watt said.
“Solutions to traffic and parking pressures are vital to ensure Braddon remains a destination for shoppers and diners. People wanting to enjoy Braddon’s excellent bars, cafes and restaurants will become frustrated and stay away, otherwise.
“With hundreds employed in the hospitality sector, parking should also consider the safety of staff finishing shifts late at night. At the moment many young women and men are forced to walk through Haig Park or nearby dark streets to their car.
“These type upgrade opportunities are few and far between. We have to get Braddon’s projects done right the first time or we risk many long years of unnecessary frustration.
“Thankfully the City Renewal Authority (CRA) has shown a genuine desire to engage with Braddon business and residents so far. We are hopeful that will continue so long-term benefits are delivered, as well an immediate and much-needed sugar hit.
BURT will undertake a survey of Braddon businesses over the next few days and give feedback to the CRA to help guide the Government’s approach.
Work will commence in early 2021 and is scheduled to be completed early 2022.