Monday, September 06, 2004

Kings Cross Business dealt another blow

After yesterday's Sunday Telegraph story on the desperate plight of main street businesses in the Cross, Council has responded by offering a staffer to meet with Andrew Strauss, who was quoted in the article. In the meantime, though, it appears Council staff have pulled another swifty on main street businesses.

We are told only 40 businesses and owners have signed up to the original awning/signage package, less than a third of the possible number. Part of the problem was that some of the facades were found to be unable to support the new awning design. This would seem to be good news for those opposed to the uniform blandness the council's package sought to impose, and those including the editor who wanted the heritage steel-riveted awnings and neon signage retained.

However here's the sting. We have been told Council has simply dropped the awning upgrade program, which must be saving them a fortune. Awnings were said to cost around $17,000 each and businesses were to get $1,000 each to help with design and artwork for the twee little signs. In asking for the heritage awnings to be saved, we asked that the upgrade money still be spent on restoring and renovating the old awnings where needed, and that businesses be allowed to spend their $1,000 on whatever signage they wished, including neons if they wanted. This seemed at least a partial compensation for the severe downturn in business the already-depressed strip has suffered during the streetworks.

However according to our information no more money will be spent. It would seem that businesses are again to be the scapegoat for the inevitable cost overrun of the project . But then it appears that the real agenda all along has been to kill the Cross as it is, and to hell with the people who lose their businesses. Meanwhile Springfield Avenue is again set to get some kind of paving instead of the bitumen they were to get. (See story below). Looks like this increase in spending is at the expense of main street businesses.

It is interesting to see the various and devious ways council staff find to carry out the Sartor/Turnbull vision, and how they punish the place in puerile pique if their tidy-town vision is thwarted. But wait, there's more... just waiting to find out how some other negotiations are going before reporting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is a story going around that the new paving in Oxford St is to extend up to and around the member for Bligh's office. Previously it was not going so far up Oxford St.

So if you wanted to know where the funds formerly allocated to the Cross are going, ask Clover.