'It's going to be crushing': Business braces for CBD revamp
THE news that work on the CBD Revitalisation Project has been delayed by two years has left some Bundaberg business owners relieved.
Bundaberg Regional Council's CBD revamp was initially expected to start in March, however, an expansion of the plan's original scope has pushed the overall construction of the project back until 2020.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said the council would be "ready to press the button" once funding support was achieved, having announced the council would put $10million toward the $30million project.
"While this is unlikely prior to 2020, traders can rest assured the council will provide a minimum of six months' notice prior to any work commencing," he said.
The announcement had local CBD business owner Christine Lindemeier breathing a big sigh of relief.
"I'm a relatively new business so parking and seating is a real issue for me already and it's only going to get worse when they commence construction," Ms Lindemeier said.
"I'm very worried about my business because people naturally avoid chaos, and it will create chaos - there's no doubt about it.
The owner of Koodos Exquisite Edible Gifts and Cakes Boutique said that even if construction work was minimised and restricted to certain hours, she, and many others would suffer.
"The night works might reduce the chaos to some degree but I know personally, if there's roadworks somewhere I avoid the area," she said.
"It will be very bad for business, I'm not going to lie. It will mean the end of me."
Feeling slightly more optimistic about the project was a Bourbong St business owner who wished to remain anonymous.
"It's a love it, loath it situation," the man said.
"It does need to be revamped, but it's going to be crushing for businesses."
The businessman said he sympathised with the fact that there was no way to complete the vital work without interrupting businesses.
"The fact they've extended it to 2020 gives people some time now. But it's a bit of a catch 22 situation," he said.
"It's something that has to be done or the CBD will fade away."
He said by the looks of the plan it was "quite possible" the CBD would become a hub for people, which is what the region needed.
Not in a position to look that far into the future was Ms Lindemeier, for whom business is already a big struggle, having only opened her cake shop in the heart of the CBD 10 months ago.
She said if the project could be completed with a snap of the fingers, "it would be wonderful, but unfortunately that's not reality and thats not the nature of these types of projects".
"I can see the CBD needs to be picked up and revitalised, but we'll all suffer through that time," Ms Lindemeier said.
When asked whether she found comfort in knowing she would not be the only business struggling due the construction of the revitalisation project, the businesswoman gave a firm "No".
"I think a struggle is a severe understatement. I'd say there's a very high probability of bankruptcy due to no customers coming here," Ms Lindemeier said.
"It's going to send me broke, what good is it that 10 other businesses might go broke with me, that just makes it worse, not better."
And though her business has been up and running for less than a year, the woman confessed she would not be able to stay open if the construction went ahead.
"I'll need to exit my lease. I cannot stay here when they're doing that. There's no way," Ms Lindemeier said.
"If they're going ahead I'm leaving. It's all about survival isn't it?"