Businesses fume at lower Mary St closure
LOWER Mary St will be closed for almost a full business day later this month, and affected business owners are not happy.
The section of Gympie CBD will be inaccessible for traffic and parking from 6am on Monday, March 26 as the community observes the 2018 Commonwealth Games Queens Baton Relay pass through town.
The Gympie Regional Council website said the five-kilometre relay will commence in Gympie at approximately 12:47pm at Albert Park, where a "community celebration" is due to take place, before travelling through Lower Nash St on its way to finishing at the One Mile Ovals around 2pm.
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The "community celebration" is due to start from 11:30am, featuring performances by Caitlyn Shadbolt and entertainer Games Boy.
Gympie Toyworld co-owner Lorraine Broadley said she understood the decision to plan the route didn't rest entirely with council, but criticised their decision to hold the celebration away from the CBD.
"We can understand that the decision to map out the relay and close the street was made by the State Government, not the council," Mrs Broadley said.
"What we are concerned about is that the council seem to have shifted the focus of the event by putting on a concert at Albert Park while Mary St is completely closed.
"Council have spent all this money on putting a staging area in Mary St and upgrading Smithfield St, so why put the concert on at Albert Park?"
Mrs Broadley said they were "grateful" for council's interest in revamping the CBD, but "confused" by the decision.
"From 2-5pm in March we don't get much business at all," she said.
"We've just come through a tough February, probably the toughest since the floods in 1999 caused us to close the store for two weeks. These are tough times, and this doesn't make it any easier."
Goodyear Jewellers co-owner Dave Hetherington said the plans were "absolutely ridiculous".
"Monday mornings are generally our busiest time, and we're closed," he said.
"We might as well not open.
"Good Friday is that week, so what already is a short week is made even shorter because of this.
"If they'd put the concert on here it might have enticed people into the street.
"Council could've stood up for their traders, that's what it comes down to."
Gympie Regional Council were unavailable for comment at the time of printing, but said businesses on Mary St can "expect higher foot traffic during the day" on their website.