Braddon traders battle against Summernats closures

Genevieve Jacobs 3 January 2019 69

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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69 Responses to Braddon traders battle against Summernats closures
Ed N Joanne Towner Ed N Joanne Towner 11:45 am 04 Jan 19

Can't they leave street open and have more policing to control traffic?

    Geoff Rey Geoff Rey 12:22 pm 04 Jan 19

    But that costs money

    Leigh Brady Leigh Brady 12:48 pm 04 Jan 19

    But Geoff, it’s an annual event that brings a BUNCH of tourists to Canberra that spend money and assist our economy. Lots of events like this need extra policing - NYE, SkyFire, Floriade.

    Hamish Lardi Hamish Lardi 1:15 pm 04 Jan 19

    Ed N Joanne Towner event managers pay for the additional police at music festivals etc. However, why would the organizers pay for additional police to be in Lonsdale Street.

    Ed N Joanne Towner Ed N Joanne Towner 1:24 pm 04 Jan 19

    They wouldn't i guess but it seems unfair that they can't conduct their business and get their normal trade. This is only a few nights thank goodness longer can seriously impact the trading of businesses eg Light rail construction in George St Sydney has caused a great deal of financial harm to a number of business's going by what i hear in the news.

Geoff Rey Geoff Rey 12:24 pm 04 Jan 19

The government love ruining anything fun that happens in Canberra

    Scott Hamley Scott Hamley 12:50 pm 04 Jan 19

    Geoff if we rename it the gay and lesbian Summernats Mr Barr would be right behind it, pun intended

    Ed N Joanne Towner Ed N Joanne Towner 1:20 pm 04 Jan 19

    Geoff and the traders in the Braddon area experience a downturn cause people can't get to the businesses easily.

    Robert Knight Robert Knight 1:23 pm 04 Jan 19

    Ed N Joanne Towner citation needed.

    Mark Valerius Mark Valerius 4:01 pm 04 Jan 19

    Ed N Joanne, sorry but I don’t agree. It’s very easy to get there regardless of whether the Summernats are on or not. That street and the other adjoining streets are busy every Friday and Saturday. People still manage to flock to all the businesses.

    Simon Mitchell Simon Mitchell 5:56 pm 04 Jan 19

    I’m with Ed. It’s an absolute pig to park anywhere close to Braddon. I’ll be going there a lot more once we have light rail.

    Scott Hamley Scott Hamley 7:49 pm 04 Jan 19

    Ed N Joanne Towner I will disagree to that statement

Simon Valentine Simon Valentine 12:26 pm 04 Jan 19

I’ll bet that the residents who complained about it are the same type of people who’ll move next to a pub and then complain about the loud music.

    Kel Watt Kel Watt 2:02 pm 04 Jan 19

    G'day Simon - I'm a resident and a business owner. I'm with BURT and a local residents' group. There was no consultation with business and none with residents either. The shut down didn't come about because of any complaint from local residents.

    Daniel Oyston Daniel Oyston 4:41 pm 04 Jan 19

    Simon Valentine ha ha crickets

Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 12:46 pm 04 Jan 19

Access Canberra didn’t even consult with the Braddon businesses. They are not a happy bunch

    Teresa BRx Teresa BRx 2:16 pm 04 Jan 19

    Ha! A government department doing their job and discussing with impacted parties.....as if!!!

    Rick Collins Rick Collins 3:05 pm 04 Jan 19

    Didn't consult residents either.

Kon Velanis Kon Velanis 1:40 pm 04 Jan 19

The fact is, the public can’t be trusted to behave and police don’t have the resources. Their priority is the event itself at EPIC. I think it’s a good compromise.

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 10:44 pm 04 Jan 19

    Kon Trichordo dear oh dear- shut every event down with that thinking!!

    Kon Velanis Kon Velanis 10:58 pm 04 Jan 19

    Margaret Freemantle who said shutdown? I said GOOD COMPROMISE. Hit a nerve?

Rick Collins Rick Collins 1:42 pm 04 Jan 19

As a resident, the thing that bothers me most is that no one is in charge. Summernats don't want to take responsibilty and when the ACT Government subsequently has tried to manage it by closing the street (even for part of the night), people get mad at them.

The alternative is to actually have a Lonsdale St heritage event where the street is closed from Friday to Saturday for a festival where car clubs can park their cars for people to have a look and limit the driving up and down to a couple of hours. That would still bring people to the street, recognise the heritage of the neighbourhood while making sure it's a safe and fun event for all.

    Catherine Ford Catherine Ford 5:07 pm 04 Jan 19

    What a refreshing voice of reason you are Rick Collins 😊😊😊

    Mick Johnson Mick Johnson 7:00 pm 04 Jan 19

    but what usually happens is a minority local group will argue that they don't have access to the area over that period and the government will take their stand and impose curfews

    Rick Collins Rick Collins 7:03 pm 04 Jan 19

    From my experience, YesFest was not nearly the kind of concern Summernats is. Part of it was there were organisers who sought to make sure they were respecting and looking out for the locals. If you had concerns, there was someone in charge to talk to.

    With Summernats, people just show up. It's amazing what a difference working with the locals can do - something not possible when no one is in charge.

    Rick Collins Rick Collins 8:14 pm 04 Jan 19

    James Judd, I'm pretty sure you've not listened to anything I've said, so okay.

    Kris Watson Kris Watson 9:06 pm 04 Jan 19

    Rick Collins this, right here, wanna take up the role of organiser? Is the first sensible solution I’ve read in this debate

    Kel Watt Kel Watt 10:15 pm 04 Jan 19

    Rick Collins I like your idea. It will be on the table when BURT talks to government.

    Chris Finnigan Chris Finnigan 10:42 pm 04 Jan 19

    Provided residents could still access Lonsdale st to get home then that seems like a fair trade off

    Alison Brittliff Alison Brittliff 11:18 pm 04 Jan 19

    Rick Collins great idea , harness the opportunity not try to control activity

    Hamish Sinclair Hamish Sinclair 11:23 pm 04 Jan 19

    Remember you live in the people’s republic of OH and S

    Rick Collins Rick Collins 11:39 pm 04 Jan 19

    ...and I think managing risk is why Summernats don't want responsibilty for managing the Lonsdale Street stuff. That and it is effectively providing part of their product to the public for free.

    Rick Collins Rick Collins 7:35 am 05 Jan 19

    Okay. Then there's no need for Summernats to spill out onto Lonsdale Street then. It can all happen at EPIC.

    Rick Collins Rick Collins 9:41 am 05 Jan 19

    If they do end up going with my idea, the biggest thing I want is an emphasis on safety. Women already have reported that Summernats culture is one in which they face harrassment or worse. With someone in charge of an event on Lonsdale, I'd be asking them to do what they could to ensure that it being a safe and welcoming place for all - including the many women who live on this street.

    Rick Collins Rick Collins 12:46 pm 05 Jan 19

    So that someone takes responsibility for making sure the event is run with people's safety in mind, and who will clean up the street after it'll be inevitably filled with trash.

    Summernats doesn't want to take responsibility and would probably prefer that the Northbourne Cruise fulfill the function of the Lonsdale Street cruise and for everyone interested to just go to EPIC.

    If no one will take responsibility, the ACT Government should be within its rights to shut down the street as providing security falls to them.

Kel Watt Kel Watt 2:06 pm 04 Jan 19

The Summernats trade can make or break some local businesses. January is always quiet, and the Friday/Saturday night trade is worth as much as the rest of the month combined for some. The shifts for part-time and casual staff are also important as it's income they would not otherwise get. An early closure means shifts will be cut or scrapped.

Kel Watt Kel Watt 2:08 pm 04 Jan 19

BURT - Braddon's United Retailers & Traders also feels the midnight garaging time for entrants at EPIC is a de facto curfew or street closure anyway. The noise limits on cars takes out noise complaints; the traffic crawls along, so it's not a safety issues; and the police presence and safety cameras on the Rainbow Roundabout address other issues. A solution in search of a problem...!

    Julie Campbell Julie Campbell 5:35 pm 04 Jan 19

    Kel Watt the noise down at the Caltex service station end sounds well above noise limits despite double glazing.

    Kel Watt Kel Watt 5:38 pm 04 Jan 19

    100dB? I'm at home in the Ori building now, near Caltex. No problems here. Might be worth hitting up police if someone is making excessive noise.

    Julie Campbell Julie Campbell 3:19 pm 05 Jan 19

    Kel Watt we spoke to the police and they are not focusing on noise. Also had many cars parked on our front lawn who wouldn't leave. Large number of cars parked inside Haig Park. While some were asked to leave and did, others think they can park anywhere they like.

Nell Feneck Nell Feneck 2:24 pm 04 Jan 19

Canberra is so run by killjoys - any bit of fun is shut down - let the cars drive where they want - it’s 3 nights fgs - Andy pandy and his merry monkeys must go

Scott Applebee Scott Applebee 2:30 pm 04 Jan 19

It's a reaction by the government to a problem that doesn't exist to show its lefty supporters that it's standing up to the evil menace of Summernatters.

Jade Bowden Jade Bowden 3:19 pm 04 Jan 19

Shut the street off and let the cars go for it. It brings in people and cars.... it's just for a week.

Collin McMahon Collin McMahon 3:45 pm 04 Jan 19

Hopefully Mark Parton gets in next election & make Canberra great again 😂😂😂

Mark Valerius Mark Valerius 3:58 pm 04 Jan 19

Another clear example that Barr’s government is completely out of touch with the city. One of only a few big income generating events in this city and they are doing what they can to stifle business. 🤦‍♂️

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 🤬

Keran Niquet Keran Niquet 4:55 pm 04 Jan 19

Typical of this fascist government !

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.

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

Lisa Palaszewski fingers crossed for you!

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.

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: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-18/nsw-live-music-report-noise-battle-for-space/10427692

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.

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.

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