CBD upgrade kills business
BALLINA businesses are struggling with a double hit from the CBD upgrade and the loss of Woolworths.
For some businesses trade is down by as much as 50% since the upgrade of River St began at Easter.
Owner of Garry's Riverside Jewellers Garry Packham said that the losses to date could not be recouped.
"Trade is down and it is money I will never be able to get back," he said.
Mr Packham said the closure of Woolworths, after it was destroyed by fire in December, along with the main street upgrade had been bad for business.
Mr Packham's business is 100m from the site where the new Woolworths is expected to open next year.
"People used to stop in at our shop when they were coming or going from the supermarket," he said.
Cars were unable to park on the street during the works and some car spaces have been lost with the installation of chicanes, including a disabled car park at the front of the shop.
"One of the reasons I bought this business was because of the disability park, with Ballina's aging population," he said.
Owner of Malibu Burgers Trent Corrigan said his business was also suffering.
"I have had a 30% drop in trade since the works on the street started," Mr Corrigan said.
Work on the $2.7 million River St upgrade undertaken by Ballina Shire Council has included a 2m high fence covered in hessian erected on the footpath.
But it has also obscured shops behind it.
"People have been avoiding the centre of town," Mr Corrigan said.
Mr Corringan agreed River St would look better once the works were finished, but questioned whether it would bring more people to town.
Ballina Shire Council group manager of civil services John Truman said the works were managed as quickly a possible and were staged to reduce the impact on businesses.
"The works could have been completed quicker but would have had a bigger impact on traders," Mr Truman said.
The upgrade is expected to be completed in the first week of December.