Owners fear road changes will close their businesses
A PROPOSED road redevelopment in Fernvale could end local businesses, according to those whose storefronts are in the firing line.
As part of an upcoming property development called Fernvale Downs Estate, significant changes have been proposed for the town's main street.
These changes would include the installation of a wide median strip and the removal of carparks to make space for it.
Local business owners this week received a letter from representatives of Lateral Properties, which has been developing land in the Fernvale area for more than a decade.
Businesses who received the letter were asked to fill out a form and give their feedback, as part of a report, which would then be distributed to candidates in the approaching local election.
Barb's Kitchen & Gifts owner Barbara Frohloff believes the loss of convenient parking in front of the business will have a massive impact.
The business serves 100-200 customers a day, but Barbara said there was barely enough parking behind the Village Centre for staff.
She said elderly people, some disabled or mobility-impaired, would be less likely to visit the shop if they had to park further away and walk.
"I've only taken over since August. If I'd known (of the changes) I never would've come here," Barbara said.
"They're just taking our livelihood."
She said the loss of carparking could also put customers dining outside at risk, leaving children just "one step" away from traffic.
But it isn't just customers who will be impacted by the loss of street parking.
"Ambulances often park in here, we have the doctors just next door, what are they going to do?" Barbara questioned.
Further complicating the issue is the installation of another median strip as part of an approved petrol station development further down the road, which will further limit the ability of northbound traffic trying to turn in to the other lane.
Fernvale Butchery owner Nathan Walker received his letter on Wednesday, and was stumped by the plans, which he believed would likely spell the end of his business.
"My delivery guys, they use a B-double. Where are they supposed to park or turn?" he asked.
"I pull in about 15 customers a day, and that's just on a main day. They're not buying meat.
"If this goes through, you're not going to have a local butcher in town."
Both Barbara and Nathan said they hadn't heard anything about the development or the reduction of parking before they received the letters.
"The council say they're all for supporting the community, local small operators, but there's no indication at all from the developers what they're going to give us if they take that," Nathan said.
"If that goes through, who do I legally seek? Because I'm going to sue someone, because this is the first we know of it."
Barbara said she only found her letter on Monday, and only read it on Tuesday.
"I had a read of it yesterday, and that was the first I knew about it," she said.
"And where was the public consultation with businesses before it got to this stage? That's just going to close us down."
They and other business owners in Fernvale have made it clear they intend to fight the plans by spreading awareness with customers, and putting together petitions against the redevelopment of the roads.