MARYBOROUGH business owners fear plans to refurbish footpaths along Kent and Adelaide Sts will block customers and hurt their finances.
Director of Coconuts clothing and homewares store Jenny Hyland is worried the $3.2 million project could block foot traffic, with a devastating effect.
"If it takes away too many of our customers, we'll probably end up losing our business," she said.
Work will start in April to remove the footpath pavers and replace them with exposed aggregate, and there will be asphalt overlay, minor drainage upgrades and alterations to underground services, pedestrian lighting, street furniture and streetscaping.
While the Fraser Coast Regional Council is calling the project a beautification process, Ms Hyland said the council needed to reassess its priorities.
"They need to do something about the empty shops instead of beautifying the street," she said.
"They should be helping the businesses instead of impacting them and taking away their customers."
Infrastructure portfolio councillor Trevor McDonald said the project would have the opposite effect.
"It will freshen up the CBD to make it more inviting to shoppers and investors," he said.
Other business owners were more positive about the refurbishment but remained concerned about the financial impact.
Andrew Duggan from Allikats on Kent thought the CBD should move into the future but did not want to lose customers.
"We need to modernise our town so we don't get left behind," he said.
"In saying that, I am concerned about a loss of business."
Cr McDonald said the council would do its best to avoid causing complete road blockages, although the roads and footpaths may be blocked for short periods.
The work is expected to take 32 weeks, weather permitting.
The Heritage Markets will move to the Town Hall Green and McDowell car park until work is finished.