Infrastructure Upgrades- The balance between getting the job done and immediate impact on business.
June 28 2021 by Peter Hansby - QLDC General Manager Property
If you’ve been into the town centre recently you’ll know that work on the infrastructure and street upgrades is well underway. There’s a lot happening and we absolutely understand the communities’ frustrations about disruption and the time it takes to upgrade a street. The work happening right now isn’t sexy but the end result will give the town centre a new lease of life and create a place we’ll proudly enjoy and share with our visitors.
Things like temporary road closures and reduced access to parking will continue as the work progresses. But there are ways we can make it easier on ourselves and the disruption does provide a good catalyst to get us all thinking about how we travel into town.
There has been significant work done over the past few years to improve the bus service to make it an affordable and genuine option for people coming in to town. And we’re not just talking about locals, we’re recommending this to visitors too.
As a Council and major employer we’re encouraging staff to consider alternative ways of travelling into town and recommended other larger businesses in town to think about doing the same. Having the conversation about how staff are commuting into work and supporting initiatives that will help them plan will help with any feelings of stress or anxiety they might also be feeling about the situation. The important thing is that we all stick together, stay positive and support our local businesses.
We’ve been working really closely with our business community to achieve a balance between getting the job done and managing impacts on their operations.
Back in December last year, before construction began we met with many business and property owners from right across the town centre to talk about what to expect and work together to agree things like appropriate working hours.
It starts to get busier in town towards the end of the week and weekends generally are the busiest times for retail, hospitality and accommodation. Part of our agreement with local businesses was to make sure construction sites are left clean and tidy on Friday evenings, and no work would happen over the weekends so that disruption was minimised over their busiest period each week.
There is absolutely a place for 24/7 construction works and in some places it is the most appropriate option. But in a place like Queenstown where there is a wide mix of businesses, it’s really important we manage the impacts across the board and ensure our works are not unfairly affecting one type of business over another.
Maintaining access and managing issues as they arise is crucial to the success of the programme and we’re grateful for the open dialogue and patience so far.