Kyogle main street facelift under fire
By Janelle McLennan
KYOGLE shopkeepers Debbie Rangger and Sheryl and Jock Marshall reckon the new footpath in front of their Summerland Way businesses has cost them thousands of dollars in lost trade money they believe they will never recoup.
All three admit the old footpath which runs along Kyogle's main street desperately needed replacing, but claim the construction work could have been completed sooner and with less impact on shopkeepers if Kyogle Council had been better organised and liaised more with the business owners.
"We were originally told that our shops would be directly inconvenienced for two to three days, while the whole project, the kerb and guttering and the new footpath in our section of street, was going to take about three weeks," Debbie Rangger, who owns Poppies Home Decor and Gifts, said.
"But it's taken six to seven weeks to complete.
"And during that time the footpath in front of our shops has been fenced off and there have been barricades on the road and in the centre parking bays, making it extremely difficult for customers to get into our shops or even park near them.
"The council keeps telling us that we will make the money up that we've lost, but there's no way we're going to get that money back."
Ms Rangger, who only opened her store last October, claims her monthly sales figures are down by at least 60 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Marshalls say sales figures for their business Kyogle Trophies and Gifts are down 50 per cent on the same month last year.
The Marshalls said the situation would have been made easier if the site foreman had been allowed to update the shopkeepers every couple of days.
"As it was we had to go through two people at the council who would take note of our concerns, speak to him and then it would come back down the line again," Mrs Marshall said.
Council's technical services manager Frank Winter conceded that the work to upgrade the footpath between Stratheden Street and the Kyogle Post Office had taken longer than originally anticipated.
He said unforeseen problems such as repairs needed to services running under the footpath and safely managing the pedestrian and vehicle traffic around the worksite had made it difficult to stick to a precise works program, resulting in the job taking longer than expected.
However, Mr Winter said the council had tried at all times to keep shopkeepers informed about the progress of the work.
"Now that we know what to expect, we're hoping the work will proceed at a much faster pace from now on," he said.