Braddon United Retail and Traders (BURT) has called on the ACT Government to provide a seat at the table for local business precincts to ensure the needs and interests of government and business are aligned. They say local business have the knowledge and solutions to increase productivity during the coronavirus recovery.
A report based on a survey of 147 Braddon business operators found around 70% have experienced a loss in revenue since March and more than 90% identified parking as the number one priority to help increase business.
The report identified the need for more angle parking, short-term spaces and loading zones, improvements to traffic flow including reductions in speed, the addition of pedestrian crossings, creating a safer space with additional lighting and CCTV, and beautification of the area with works by local street artists, upgraded footpaths and landscaping.
BURT spokesperson Kel Watt said they welcomed the ACT Government’s recent funding announcement to upgrade Braddon but said more community consultation would increase the economic return on their investment.
“They’ve allocated $8.5 million and the works are planned for 2021 so there is enough time to design, consult and get it right,” Mr Watt said.
“Without spending any extra money or delaying the works, they can deliver the upgrades and infrastructure that have a direct benefit.
“The pot plants and things are lovely, but if you can’t get a park, you’re not going to come to Braddon.
“They say there’s been consultation, but they’ve just thrown a couple of postcard size surveys at us and said ‘what do you think?’ – that’s not consultation, we want a conversation.
“Only one out of 10 people think they’ve been consulted.”
The report identifies 55% of Braddon businesses fear closure or the serious threat of closure if another shutdown occurred.
Mr Watt said the owners and employees in the hospitality, retail and beauty sectors were still in need of significant financial support, with the “necessary restrictions” still affecting revenue.
“Failure to get the right policy and programs in place now will see dozens of Braddon businesses wind up and their staff without jobs,” he said.
“If they’re going to spend money, they need to make sure it’s targeted support; it doesn’t need to be one size fits all, it needs to respond to our needs.”
Canberra Weekly contacted the ACT Government for comment but has not received a response.
Braddon shoppers want more car parks
A lunchtime survey of “Braddonites” produced a near consensus that the business district is a parking nightmare and costs the local economy critical dollars during coronavirus restrictions.
Anil and Dinesh work in Braddon said they would spend more of their money at local retailers if there were more parking options.
Anil: “It’s true. There are not enough car parks, I work in Torrens Street and I park at Canberra Raiders, they charge $190 a month but that’s the only option we have, the streets are full. I think it’s really hard.
Josh and Andrew
“I got a park right out the front,” Josh said.
“Yeah, but he’s super lucky – it’s not a coincidence,” Andrew smiled.
“But it can be difficult, you do need to plan ahead, it can take up to 15 minutes and drive you crazy,” Josh said.
Eliza gave up her Braddon gym because of a lack of car parking.
“I’d just drive around and around the block looking for a park and then give up and go home. I’ve just moved to Turner, so I’ll just join somewhere there.”