Members of the local business community inspect the current roadworks in Murwillumbah's CBD.
Members of the local business community inspect the current roadworks in Murwillumbah's CBD.

Long, hard road ahead

BUSINESS owners affected by road works in Murwillumbah's main street are making the best of a bad situation.

About 25 people yesterday decided at a special business chamber meeting to extend the works to six days a week to speed up the drainage project.

And businesses are also considering creating a road work-themed advertising campaign to encourage residents to support them in this hard time, Murwillumbah District Business Chamber president Toni Zuschke said.

“It was quite a positive meeting,” Mrs Zuschke said.

“We agreed on quite a few great ideas, including increasing construction to six days a week with Sunday off.

“We'll also have signs up by the weekend letting people know the businesses are still open and directing them to parking in Proudfoots Lane and the multi-storey car park.”

Mrs Zuschke said they will be making the most of the large corrugated iron barriers by decorating them with signs and art.

“We're also planning a market day on Sundays with buskers and balloons in the street.

“I think a lot of good is going to come out of this because the businesses in town will be working together.”

Tweed Shire Council gen- eral manager Mike Rayner and works manager Ian Kite were on hand at yesterday's meeting to address concerns.

Business owners proposed Council provide them with compensation, such as having to pay no rates during the three-month period, stating: “We're wondering if we will survive the month.”

But Mr Rayner said: “That (the rate discount) is just not a possibility.”

He added there is no money in the works budget to compensate affected businesses.

“We've closed the road to secure the viability of the street in the long term.”

Mr Rayner suggested using business insurance, but, as owners pointed out, road works are not an insured risk.

However, with an extra two working days a week, business owners are hoping the project time, originally 13 weeks, will be severely shortened.

The change means Wharf Street between Commercial Road and Queen Street will now be closed every day during business hours except for Sunday, a major trading day due to day tourists in the area.

Works manager Ian Kite said the schedule change would ensure an earlier completion date to the operation.

“We still don't know what unexpected challenges will arise from replacing the 100-year-old drainage system, however with six days' work each week the project will be completed earlier,” Mr Kite said.

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