Braddon traders battle against Summernats closures

Genevieve Jacobs 3 January 2019 70

Cruising Braddon’s streets is a long established Summernats tradition. File photo.

Braddon traders say Lonsdale Street’s 9 pm closure during Summernats last year was “a disaster” for them, and that while this year’s 10 pm closure on the busiest weekend nights is an improvement, the government is still risking significant damage to local businesses and staff.

The government confirmed before Christmas that it would be leaving Lonsdale Street open to traffic until 10 pm on the Friday and Saturday nights of Summernats 2019. But the busy restaurant and entertainment precinct between Cooyong Street and Girrahween Street will then be closed until 1 am on Friday, 4 January and Saturday, 5 January.

Last year the government had initially intended to close the street to traffic from 6 pm over the same weekend period, but amended their plans after a petition with 3500 signatures was presented to them.

Car enthusiasts fear the long-established tradition of cruising Lonsdale St before crowds of onlookers is threatened by the decision. They’ve been joined by members of the Braddon United Retailers & Traders Association (BURT), who rely on the Summernats boost during Canberra’s quietest trading period.

The group are calling for a formal consultation process with the ACT Government, ACT Police and Summernats organisers to discuss closures and ensure sufficient notice is given, and say that the ongoing lack of communication with residents and businesses shows things must change.

Spokesman Kel Watt said BURT welcomed sensible action on safety, noise and speed impacting local residents. But he said these could be managed without being heavy-handed about singling out Summernats, while other events also run late into the night.

“BURT has written to Access Canberra, Summernats organisers and ACT Policing to ask for a meeting to better plan road closures and ensure businesses are warned well ahead of time. January trading is notoriously slow in Canberra. Summernats represents a lifeline for many businesses that would otherwise risk going under,” he said.

Local businesses fear that Braddon will lose trade from interstate visitors, but that Canberrans will also be deterred from a night out in the restaurant and bar district. BURT suggests that those who don’t enjoy the cruising tradition should probably dine elsewhere, but adds that the four days of Summernats can make or break January balance sheets.

“Last year, the sudden and unexpected announcement gave businesses no time to organise or respond. This year, a Christmas time announcement came too late for many businesses and staff to plan ahead properly,” Mr Watt said.

“Businesses and residents moved into the area knowing full well what activities and life are like in Braddon, including the last three decades of annual Summernats migration. Kicking off 2019 with another communication failure doesn’t make for a very happy New Year.”

Do you think that Lonsdale Street should be closed to traffic to protect residents?

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70 Responses to Braddon traders battle against Summernats closures
Dimi Brendas Dimi Brendas 8:32 pm 06 Jan 19

This event brings so much to Canberra. Business thrive from the traffic that the event brings.. I am sure people can manage with the street having NO curfew for 2 nights. It is a joke that the street is closed at 10pm. This is why nothing or no one comes to Canberra..

Ben Mallie Ben Mallie 7:00 pm 05 Jan 19

3 days a year, Police are on the scene, get over it Braddon traders.

Ashkān Cbr Ashkān Cbr 1:18 pm 05 Jan 19

Curfew? Idiots! They have to ruin it someway or another. Canberra has nothing, so for 3 days they can keep tbeir uptight heads away from people enjoying themselves

Malcolm Campbell Malcolm Campbell 10:00 am 05 Jan 19

Come on people. One week end a year. Millions of dollars 💵 into economy and what about petrol ⛽️ sales. Embrace the history of cars 🚘

Neurotic Dancer Neurotic Dancer 9:57 am 05 Jan 19

Can people stop dragging (pun intended) the LGBTQ community into this? Many of us are fans of Summernats, and I don’t know anyone who would want to get rid of the Lonsdale Street tradition. We definitely understand the importance and sharing your passion and values openly with your community, so stop throwing us under the bus. We’re not your enemy.

Aaron Fenning Aaron Fenning 4:52 am 05 Jan 19

its only once a year and in the festive season. leave it be!

Emma Tooley Emma Tooley 1:25 am 05 Jan 19

Nathan Edwards anti bogan 😩

Liam Beaz Liam Beaz 12:10 am 05 Jan 19

Who pays the government wages...

Jim Jim Jim Jim 11:59 pm 04 Jan 19

This government has been on the nose since Stanhope left...

John Boland John Boland 11:58 pm 04 Jan 19

Bet if one of these car enthusiasts identified as a minority group and painted a roundabout on their car and made a donation to the tram line, the summernats enthusiasts wouldn't be so hard done by !

Sue Whitton Sue Whitton 9:32 pm 04 Jan 19

oh dear gord. it’s what? 3 days in one year? No wonder the rest of australia thinks canberra as non fun place...

    Kathryn Ingram Kathryn Ingram 11:53 pm 04 Jan 19

    They would have another issue, car parks anyways

Karen Abbott Karen Abbott 9:18 pm 04 Jan 19

Once a year. Com'on Govt.

Samuel Nicholls Samuel Nicholls 8:40 pm 04 Jan 19

Simple run a competition first prize second prize third prize total of $35000 vote by mobile phone 4 People's Choice summer Nats car of the year!

Do it on Friday and Saturday night 7 till 11pm. Money raised by selling merchandise for the current year which allows you to vote one vote per merchandise purchase over $10. Thoughts? Perhaps a portion of the funds raised also could go to a wonderful charity for the homeless.

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 7:15 pm 04 Jan 19

10 pm closure is a good idea. That “Summernats culture” needs to be kept well away from Haig Park.

ivanbraddo ivanbraddo 6:29 pm 04 Jan 19

As another resident, I think that something is necessary to push out the vehicles that insist on making a lot of noise by revving wildly at all hours of the night and morning. I don’t have a problem with the cruise, but there’s a small number of people that seem to think that hundreds of residents should go without sleep for several nights due to a “tradition”. Sorry, I don’t agree. Lonsdale St is no longer the same street that it was years ago.

The noise started at 6am on Thursday morning, what a great start to the event, having a car revved repeatedly for an hour right near our apartment block. Yes that’s 0600.

For those uninformed people who make comments like “they all moved in knowing what it was like”, a) not true, and b) do some research on how noise works in urban areas – the noise regulations aren’t based on “who got here first”. Ob reference:

I do agree that last year was a bit of a joke, the street was deserted by 9:15pm, and that some compromises may be necessary. But at the moment it looks to me like we have quite a few people saying “you Braddon people should just put up with it, [ffs]”.

No thanks.

Hamish Sinclair Hamish Sinclair 6:23 pm 04 Jan 19

Oh the Hoi Polloi could not possibly understand the climate change damage these Larakins cause, best retire to the national gallery and write a stiff letter to the Times I say, the barbarians are at Lonsdale St.

Su-Ann Chan Su-Ann Chan 5:05 pm 04 Jan 19

Lisa Palaszewski fingers crossed for you!

Ivan Marijan Peric Ivan Marijan Peric 5:03 pm 04 Jan 19

They closed it for the 🌈

    Ivan Marijan Peric Ivan Marijan Peric 6:54 pm 04 Jan 19

    Kye Paskanoski 100% man Barr pulled those strings

    Rick Collins Rick Collins 9:37 am 05 Jan 19

    ...and I don't the street locals were as opposed to it as they are the Summernats takeover.

Keran Niquet Keran Niquet 4:55 pm 04 Jan 19

Typical of this fascist government !

PJ Fleming PJ Fleming 4:11 pm 04 Jan 19

Answer is simple - turf ‘em out... they deserve it; they are not serving the people 🤬

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