Business owners concerned about council upgrade
Local business owners on upper Mary St have expressed concern with the short-term consequences of the Gympie Regional Council's current plans for revitalisation.
The portion spanning from Monkland St to Channon St will receive the upgrade, worth $3 million divided between the council and the Federal Government's Building Better Regions program.
The preliminary concept for the Gympie Town Centre Revitalisation Project shows upgrades for the street's pedestrian crossings, walkways and power lines, as well as introductions of bike racks, trees, alfresco dining spaces and a garden bed.
Adjustments to loading bays and parking on both ends of the street have also been proposed.
Camille Nash, owner of Craft Punk Espresso, said her concerns lie with the time it could take council to complete the project.
"The only thing I'm worried about is the loss of trade in between the start time and the time of completion," Miss Nash said.
"The end result will be great but it's going to be difficult for us while it's all going on.
"They're ripping up everything, so there'll be no parking and no foot traffic, and no real access for people.
"They haven't said anything about when it's going to start, and if it's starting in January and ending in December next year what are we supposed to do?"
Emilia's cafe owner Jodi Giorno echoed Miss Nash's thoughts, saying the project would be a good thing for the long term but a worry for the loss of business during construction.
Ms Giorno was not willing to comment on the magnitude of her concerns for the business during the overhaul.
Cooloola Electronics co-owner Paul Medway said business was hard enough without being disrupted for such a lengthy period.
"Our concern is with the disruption of business it's going to cause, especially with what happened when they were upgrading Smithfield St.
"That was an example of the pain it causes businesses, and for what gain? We don't know.
"It's going to look beautiful when it's done, but at what cost?" he said.
Empire Hotel Manager Kim Smillie said she was dissatisfied with the concepts, but had been speaking with council on the matter.
"I'd like to see more trees on this side of Mary St, and an Alfresco dining area out the front of the hotel.
"We've been in touch with the council and they've communicated with us about further developments to the current plan.
"They've said they will keep us informed about further changes based on the feedback they've been given."
Conversely, Hair Review owner Carolann Verity said she embraced the plans and wasn't worried about loss of business.
"I just think it's very positive," she said.
"Sometimes you have to take some inconvenience with progress."
A council spokeswoman said they will "continue to consult with business owners as the project progresses."