I must declare an interest. My wife and I have a shop in Crawford Street Queanbeyan and we are struggling with a marked downturn in business since construction began on Queanbeyan City Council’s Lifestyle Precinct – perhaps not quite Manuka in Queanbeyan, but that’s the general idea. Unfortunately, since the project began in August, businesses have been under serious pressure with across the board declines in trade of 30% plus with business owners now dubbing the project as the “Nightmare on Crawford Street”. Business has been critical of QCC’s performance and point to apparent failures in planning, project management and community consultation, and the lack of effective measures to assist ailing businesses.
Partly in response to business concerns – and aren’t there local government elections next year – Mayor Tim Overall has recently trumpeted (through all available media) QCC’s intention to consider an ex gratia payment to affected businesses totalling some $22,000 spread amongst some 12 businesses, a measure widely felt to be way too little and way too late.
Perhaps somewhat churlishly I was prompted to comment on QCC’s facebook that “the scorecard on the project so far was one business closing, 11 jobs lost and hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost trade. QCC should be accountable and responsible and consider meaningful compensation, not mere tokenism”. Churlish perhaps but totally accurate.
And then what, I hear you ask? The facebook post was pulled within the hour because it “attracted unsubstantiated comment which could be construed as exaggerated and misleading”.
So as a Riot Act virgin I am in this forum to try to get some public debate on the goings on in Queanbeyan.