BUSINESSES on the eastern end of Murwillumbah's Wharf Street received a much-needed boost when the public turned out in force to support a specially organised market yesterday.
Ongoing roadworks have blocked off large sections of the street, and businesses have been suffering, with shoppers choosing to avoid the area in its ugly state.
Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber president Toni Zuschke declared the market a triumph as she sat in a crowded restaurant yesterday afternoon.
“There is a full house here at the restaurant I am in, and it seats about 30 people, so it is pretty busy,” Mrs Zuschke said.
“There are smiles all round, everybody thinks it has been a great success.
“We are all smiles and we may be putting on another one prior to Christmas.”
Mrs Zuschke said it had been a busy day, helped by beautiful weather.
Markets at the Murwillumbah Showgrounds had proved the perfect start to the day for many people and the festival atmosphere created by bands playing in the street drew the people into town.
The idea of the market was to encourage more business on Sunday while the street was open, and there were plenty of good bargains around for shoppers, with retailers keen to unload their supplies before stocktake.
Mrs Zuschke said the roadworks had created a significant impact.
Barriers are up all along the section of street, which has been closed to traffic for six days a week.
“When we had the initial meeting between businesses and (Tweed Shire) Council we warned about losing trade, and a lot of businesses have been affected, to the point where some have lost up to one third of their income,” Ms Zuschke said.
“They have been doing it tough with the best part of the road closed.”
She said Council had made the decision to go hard and fast with the roadworks, and had been working six days a week to strip time from the completion date.
Mrs Zuschke said the markets had highlighted the good work that could be done when Murwillum- bah's businesses came together and worked as a town, and she hoped it could continue into the future.
The business owners have been making the best of a bad situation, holding meetings and coming up with ideas to encourage people to keep on turning up.
They have approached Tweed Shire Council for compensation, but general manager Mike Rayner said any type of compensation, such as a discount in rates, was not an option.
“We've closed the road to secure the viability of the street in the long term,” Mr Rayner said.
The purpose of the works is to replace the town's 100-year-old drainage system.