Jodi Giorno is frustrated by the lack of council help for businesses affected by the Upper Mary St work.
Jodi Giorno is frustrated by the lack of council help for businesses affected by the Upper Mary St work.

Shops want council to help with Upper Mary St mess

UPPER Mary St businesses are calling on Gympie Regional Council to “blitz” advertising as frustration over the delayed revitalisation project continues to boil over.

Emilia’s Cafe owner Jody Giorno said she has lost all her foot traffic during the four months the works have been going on outside the business.

Ms Giorno said it was especially frustrating as the work outside her shop was supposed to have been completed “within three weeks, tops”.

“Without our local support, we wouldn’t be here,” she said.

“Yes, it’ll look great once it’s done.

“But at what cost to get there?

“The council should be blitzing it (with advertising) once a week.”

Upper Mary st
Upper Mary st

Ms Giorno said the work signage was also not helping businesses with large ‘road work’ and ‘detour’ signs positioned at the top of the street and a ’road closed’ sign located at the bottom end.

The only sign indicating the shops are trading is an A4 sheet saying ’shops open’ at the bottom end of the street.

“We need bigger signage,” Ms Giorno said.

The cafe owner said the works are comparable to the controversial Smithfield St upgrades. And while she had no issue with individual council staff working on the project, said the council as an organisation had adopted a “turtle mentality”.

“They pull their head into their shell, hide until it’s over, and then stick their head back out,” Ms Giorno said.

Memphis Barber owner Stacey Edwards said she had to “beg and plead” to get parking signs installed at the top of the street.

Stacey Edwards.
Stacey Edwards.

Gympie business leaders have raised the idea of compensation for income lost during the project but Ms Edwards said there needed to be a big support push for businesses now.

“I want some advertising in the paper,” she said.

“Tell people we’re open, tell them where to park.

“We’re not being unreasonable, we just want some help.”

A council spokeswoman said businesses are “welcome to make suggestions for additional support, and this can be raised with council officers during their regular visits”.

The spokeswoman said construction teams were working 6am-11pm, sometimes six days a week, to complete the job, which has suffered multiple delays and is expected to be finished by February 2020.