Quay St work to be halted after revolt from businesses
ROCKHAMPTON Regional Council's plan to level the Quay St road has left nearby stakeholders feeling anything but elevated.
Construction was set to start tomorrow on phase one of the Rockhampton Riverbank Redevelopment plan, but work has been delayed for almost two weeks after a last-minute meeting yesterday between at least 20 business owners and key council players, including CEO Evan Pardon and Mayor Margaret Strelow.
The Quay St road was to be levelled to create a "seamless space" for traffic and pedestrians to share, while also having the ability to be closed off for public events.
The redevelopment plan is part of a multi-million project which saw the State Government contribute $15 million and council contribute $5 million towards construction.
But the chairman of a group of concerned building owners, business owners and ratepayers along the Quay St heritage strip, Cyril Thomassen, said businesses on the block were barely given notice about the work and had no chance to consult with council on the plans.
The construction would have seen the section of Quay St between the Fitzroy Bridge and Denham St closed until August next year.
"They are closing the road down in the prime-time over Christmas... we asked them to be put off until February but we got a resounding no," Mr Thomassen said.
"No consideration was given to the viability of the businesses up until this meeting... the financial impact of this is unmeasurable."
But Mr Thomassen said they came away with some wins from the meeting, with council agreeing to only close the road for three months, with a footpath open the entire period to cater to foot traffic.
Cr Strelow said the project had to be completed over the Christmas period to avoid clashing with cyclone season.
"This is a stimulus package and needs to get going as quickly as possible to give a focus for the community and to help stimulate the broader business economy," she said.
"And even if we delayed until March 2016 we would still end up with road closures during the Christmas period in 2016.
"We have reshaped the project, it will take longer and it will cost more. There will be an impact on the financials of it to keep more of the road open for longer but I think that is quite reasonable."
Cr Strelow said consultation began on August 7 with "several forms of communication".
"There will always be differing points of view but I think there is a very broad consensus on the design in the community," she said.
"There are a few issues that we will continue to work through with both this group and with other Quay St property owners."