One way and it’s all heading down
The conversion of Marine Pde into a one-way street with 45 extra car park spaces was supposed to ease traffic in Kingscliff.
But businesses say instead the move, which was supported by 70% of the community at the time, has hit businesses hard.
Choux Box cafe owner Brett Freeburn, a Marine Pde trader of 21 years, said he could trace a 20% fall in his earnings to when the central section of Marine Pde was changed to a one-way street heading south 18 months ago.
He said the first week the road changed alone, Choux coffee sales fell by 10 kilos, representing about $4000 in sales.
Mr Freeburn has been forced to put off six staff since the road change.
He believes the problem is caused by a reduction in morning trade customers from Salt, Casuarina and Kingscliff.
"Traditionally those people come over the (Kingscliff) hill, come to the five ways and there's a split in traffic. You can go down the main street (Pearl St), but that's normally too busy with activity and they come through here (Marine Pde) and they stop, get their bread roll, their coffee, their newspaper and off they go to Gold Coast or Tweed to work."
Traders say the extra parking on the beach has also hurt them, as it looks unappealing.
"We have four lanes of parking. Kingscliff is about being at the beach, and without any nice green corridors linking us to that beautiful beach, the view from here (Choux) is like you're in a supermarket carpark," Mr Freeburn said.
"We need parking, but we don't need it on the beach."
Kingscliff Newsagency and The Mullet seafood restaurant have also reported downturns, and a baker has closed its doors.
Kingscliff resident Ron Cooper, from the Lot 490 group, has collected a 200- signature petition that he claims shows 58% of respondents were unhappy with Marine Pde's current design.
Suggestions for improvement included changing the direction of the road to north, allowing access to the parking lot through the northern entry, a multi-level underground carpark at Woolworths or a mall with no traffic access, which is the least favourable option for businesses.
Tweed Mayor Gary Bagnall has called for the community to give more feedback on the road.
"It concerns me that businesses in that section of Marine Pde are distraught, it's time we listened to them," Mr Bagnall said.
Cr Bagnall warned the problem would only get worse once the mega Kings Forest residential estate 3km away was completed.
"I would like to get more feedback from the community and business. Maybe they should be ... having some serious dialogue with the chamber and council."
Chamber of Commerce vice president Don Neale said the council had extensively consulted with the business and wider community before changing the traffic configuration.
It comes on top of a previously reported 20% downturn experienced by businesses opposite the beach accesses that have been closed due to erosion.
Traders also fear the six- month closure of the Kingscliff North Holiday Park will reduce the number of Christmas visitors.
Takings over the busy holiday period help keep businesses going during slower times, but there are concerns that that windfall may not eventuate this year.