GOING AHEAD: Mayor Margaret Strelow with members of the project crew, Rodney Leis and Adrian Bacchetti.
GOING AHEAD: Mayor Margaret Strelow with members of the project crew, Rodney Leis and Adrian Bacchetti.

Mayor defends Quay St after backlash

IT WAS an emotional address yesterday from Mayor Margaret Strelow as she defended council's Quay St redevelopment following days of backlash from the area's stakeholders.

Clearly frustrated with the barrage of complaints against the project from business and property owners, Cr Strelow spoke to media yesterday and confirmed it would continue to go ahead as planned despite requests to delay work until January 2.

The statements follow the threat of potential legal action from stakeholders if the project goes ahead without "appropriate consultation" as the group took issue with the loss of car parks, placement of trees, gardens and "shared space" plan.

"The businesses on Quay St have had one-on-one meetings with the Deputy Mayor, they have had one-on-one meetings with their local councillor," Cr Strelow said. "They have had more opportunity than the rest of the community to have their feedback.

"We have been dragged down by negativity long enough. We are hungry to embrace a new and dynamic lifestyle. We want the kinds of facilities we've seen in cities elsewhere. We want to be a part of tomorrow, not stuck in yesterday."

She said the 20 stakeholders were reluctant to move forward into new possibilities on the riverfront and implored them to embrace the future.

"These people are so set in the past that when I mentioned that council would be installing fibre along Quay St to permit high-speed internet, I was told they didn't want it," she said.

"This is a crossroads, a point in time at which we choose the future or the past. This council has set its face firmly forward and this redevelopment and the wider Smart City project are simply right for our times.

"Our community wants this, we have been held down by negativity trying to stop every amazing thing the bulk of the community wants to happen."

Cr Strelow also denied any possibilities for compensation for the building owners along Quay St, which has been requested from them in meetings with the group.

"Council always does roadwork... there is no compensation. The building owners have asked for compensation; it is not normal for ratepayers to pay compensation," she said.

"We have so many changes to accommodate already."

Cr Strelow said work at Victoria Pde started earlier this week and estimated Quay St construction to start back up on November 2.



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