BUSINESS owners in the Maryborough CBD say the $6 million flood mitigation project is a sign of confidence that they hope will encourage a new generation of store owners to set up shop.
Lida Nielsen, owner of The Land of Sweets in Kent St, said she had spoken to many people discouraged from opening a business because of the potential for flooding.
"I see so many people come and look through the windows of empty shops in the street saying they are thinking about opening a business here, but then they always ask about the floods and decide against it," she said.
"I'm excited because we're going to finally see something happening in the CBD.
"We've been in the area for 10 years.
"I've had my shop for eight years and I'd say this is the first major development I've seen in all that time."
Ms Nielsen said her business was closed for up to four weeks as a result of the floods that swept through Maryborough in January and February last year.
"That last flood was a big one," she said.
"You didn't realise how bad it was until you started coming in and cleaning up and you realise how real it was.
"By doing this perhaps it won't end up costing the government and charities thousands and thousands of dollars to get us back on our feet."
Anne Proctor, of Anne's Irresistible Lingerie, has been in business for 17 years and said making the street flood-proof meant existing stores would not go out of business with the costs of repairing damage.
"We didn't have too much damage to stock, but the toll it took on everybody was great. It meant you had to get back in and repair things, you had to repair everything before you started back," she said.
"I was lucky, I was a bit more established. I own my own building, I have good staff so I could afford to still pay them, but I know there was a lot of businesses that couldn't.
"In a way we've only got back to normal this year. It took us all a good 12 months.
"I would hope this levee will encourage a lot more businesses to come back.
"We also need to turn it around to get that next generation backing themselves to set up small businesses."
The $6 million flood mitigation project will include:
- A 1.8m portable flood barrier
- A permanent pump station
- The raising of Adelaide St by 300mm
- Upgrades to stormwater drainage