Construction under way on Brisbane Rd.
Construction under way on Brisbane Rd.

Bikeway construction killing business at crucial time

CONSTRUCTION of the bikeway on Brisbane Rd might be good for healthy lifestyles but it's killing business for shop owners on the busy street.

The two-lane, three-metre wide bikeway is being built by Sunshine Coast Council in conjunction with the State Government to link the Mooloolaba Wharf area and Minyama.

Mooloolaba Business and Tourism president David Mares is furious at the council, which he says chose the busiest time of year for retail - the period leading up to Christmas - for the roadworks.

He labelled the Division 4 councillor who led consultations, Chris Thompson, "very arrogant".

"It's just a disgrace. He would not listen to a compromise," Mr Mares said.

"He's ignored the Christmas trade for business along Brisbane Rd."

Mr Mares, who also owns Bundilla Dry Cleaners on Brisbane Rd, said the bikeway was a rush job and claimed Cr Thompson was in a hurry to "create a memory of himself" before council elections in March next year.

Roadworks for the project have changed street parking options, with much of the angle parking on the east side of Brisbane Rd now out of use, he said.

Safety barriers block the view of shopfronts in the construction zone, making it unclear to passers-by which shops are open.

Mr Mares bought Bundilla Dry Cleaners two years ago and said he was in a difficult position because three years remained on the lease.

He said "exactly half" of the parking used by his customers had been taken away. This caused a significant loss to his business, as every customer needed to park for short three- to five-minute periods while they dropped off and picked up their garments.

Coffee shop owner John Stark, of The Pallet Espresso, was also feeling the pain.

"There's been a dramatic loss in business due to the fact that people are avoiding Brisbane Rd like the plague while this is happening," he said.

"I was going through about 30-40kg of coffee, I'm now about 20kg a week unfortunately."

He said local residents were his cafe's main supporters, and the lead-up to Christmas was a high point in trade.

"They really could have done it in February when it was quieter," he said.

Cr Thompson said the bikeway project team was trying to speed up progress with the roadworks and aimed to complete all disruptions to Brisbane Rd before Christmas.

He said there would be "no net loss of car parks" in the vicinity.

The bikeway will be important infrastructure for families in the area, and Cr Thompson said he had been "buoyed" by "overwhelming community support".

"Consultation went on for two years," he said.

"It's just unfortunate that people want to revisit the project. We've said, all along, yes it is going to be disruptive to business."

Cr Thompson said he was frustrated by the impact the roadworks were having on businesses, but said "we've got to grin and bear it".

"We're determined to get it done," he said.



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