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Small term pain for long term gain

The new streetscape works in Ballan has some traders angry. Photo - Helen Tatchell

By Helen Tatchell

Over $900,000 is being spent by council on a new look streetscape in Ballan, and despite some traders venting their annoyance, works are progressing well.
The streetscape works follow a significant community consultation process that informed and helped design the project.
Council’s General Manager Infrastructure Phil Jeffrey said Council staff and contactors are in constant contact with traders to minimise any impact of the project
“Paving works have significantly progressed, and works are proceeding according to schedule.
“It is anticipated that asphalt will be laid next week to areas currently under construction and barriers removed for completed sections marking a significant milestone for the project,” Mr Jeffrey said.
At a recent Ballan & District Chamber of Commerce meeting Vice-Chairman Dave Nickels asked for a ‘strong worded’ letter to be sent, as a collective, to the shire voicing trader concerns.
“We were told two weeks and it’s been nine. Consultation has been zip with council. Nine weeks is unacceptable when told two,” Mr Nickels said.
Café owner Lisa Kennedy and butcher Shane Zammit also joined in the chorus.
“Our sales revenue is mainly walk ins. When the barriers are up we lose 50 per cent of income. We can’t survive nine to ten weeks and the last thing we want to do is go broke,” Ms Kennedy told the meeting.
Mr Zammit said the time frame was longer than thought.
Mr Jeffrey responded to the claims saying as part of the works, Council is also installing underground conduits that will future proof the street for the potential undergrounding of electricity.
“Installation works of this nature may slow the progress of the works but will definitely provide a better long-term outcome.
“Pedestrian access and access to businesses in Inglis Street have been retained, and we once again, ask the community to be patient while works are being undertaken.”
To minimise impacts Mr Jeffrey said the contractors will also undertake night works in some areas.
“We are making every effort to expedite these works, which will enhance the visual appeal and functionality of the street and deliver a great outcome for the Ballan community,” he said.
“Council and the contractors are hearing many positive comments from the community and traders in relation to works so far.”
Council will provide further progress reports over the coming weeks.