Upgrade hurting local businesses
CASINO business owners claim they are losing tens of thousands of dollars because of construction work in the CBD.
The work is being done as part of a $2.7 million project to upgrade Walker and Barker streets.
More than 50 people attended a meeting hosted by the Casino Chamber of Commerce last night, with many saying they felt like they were being ‘kept in the dark’ about the project.
“My business has dropped by 50 per cent,” one business owner said.
“A lot of us are about ready to pack up and leave.
“We’re going broke.
“I’ve had customers tell me that they’re going to Lismore to do their shopping because they can’t be bothered to shop in Casino.”
Others complained about the project’s ‘stupid design’ and said not enough consultation was done before work started.
Business owners also said the council had not communicated with them about the timeline.
But the council’s works director, Gary Murphy, said his job was to deliver the concept plan as approved by councillors.
He also called on the business community to keep any concerns out of the public arena.
“We can have discussions behind closed doors, not in the media,” he said.
“Let’s not get this into the newspapers.
“We are trying to reach a compromise ... but I can’t keep everyone happy.”
One cafe owner pleaded with the council to scrap plans for nose-in parking.
“If this keeps going the way it is, you won’t have any businesses left in Casino,” she said.
“We already know people are going elsewhere to shop.
“I know one business which is about to shut its doors. I’ve had to sack staff. That’s more money being taken out of our economy.”
The Chamber last night resolved to write to the council’s general manager and councillors about members’ concerns.