The ACT Government is moving early to get City West businesses on board for the construction of the next stage of light rail with the launch of a community engagement program to avoid the mistakes of Stage 1 and minimise the impacts on traders.
Businesses along the Stage 1 route complained about disruption and loss of trade during construction and one of the lessons learnt was that the Government could have done better to alleviate the impacts on traders.
A survey of businesses was told that the project could have strategically spread works over a longer period but limited to smaller areas; provided greater certainty about the timing and extent of road closure, noisy activities and delays; assisted with better wayfinding signage for customers; and practical measures like window and façade cleaning where construction activities generated excessive dust.
The Government report on the Stage 1 build also said that delivery agencies needed to be aware of other Territory projects nearby and the potential for extended or excessive construction disruption to the community and business.
“Early engagement with other Territory directorates and agencies to understand planned projects and co-ordinate them in a manner that minimises the disruption to the community and business is critical,” the report said.
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The Government has said it will take these findings into account when planning for Stage 2.
Now members of the City to Woden light rail team will be talking to City West businesses to develop a better understanding of trading hours, including weekly or yearly peak operating times, and customer access, goods and service offerings.
They will also be looking at signage and marketing considerations, and logistics around deliveries including waste management and parking.
The team is wanting to know how aware businesses are of light rail plans and how best to keep communication channels open as the project progresses.
The Government has split Stage 2 to Woden into two sections, with the first running through City West to West Basin and Commonwealth Park.
Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said experience showed that early engagement insights could help businesses better prepare for future light rail construction.
“Early engagement with businesses will help us help them by designing a program of support, advisory and activation that will keep City West vibrant during construction and ready for operations,” Minister Steel said.
“We can also use the insights from this first round of engagement with businesses to inform construction planning, identify respite periods and to find opportunities for activations and events.”
Mr Steel said the Government was building on the program of support provided to businesses during Stage 1 and drawing on insights from other major infrastructure projects throughout Australia.
City West businesses are encouraged to complete the survey online or in hardcopy, chat with the light rail team as they call in this month or attend the light rail coffee date on Thursday 22 August at the Cupping Room.
To participate visit yoursay.act.gov.au