Sunday, March 27, 2011


At the moment they are doing a massive refurbishment of the local shopping precinct. The trouble with all the apartments going in is that the shops are a melange of 30’s and 40’s architecture. Small grimy places configured in strips along two parallel roads. Hardly the salubrious area needed for such luxury to nestle in.

So the council is doing its bit by ripping up all the streets and paving to replace them with cleaner looking concrete. It is going to take $20 mil and a year to complete. And despite all that expenditure there is not going to be so much as one extra parking space... something the area desperately needs. Which you have to admit is an impressive bit of planning, even for a council.

Travelling through the area is like traipsing through roadwork hell. Traffic has been redirected along impossibly narrow streets... which probably looked fine on paper. The dust settles everywhere and the noise is abominable. You can’t get to the shops without stepping through the rubble or walking out of your way to use the access points.

The area comprises of small businesses; ice-cream shops, outdoor cafes and restaurants, takeaways and boutiques and specialty shops. All of these rely heavily on the summer and tourist trade to get them through winter. So of course the council started the work just before Christmas. And of course rather than doing the area piecemeal, which would have allowed the businesses to continue, they have tackled all the area at once thereby maximising the damage.

The shops are doing their arse. When you see large handwritten signs in their windows extolling people to support their business you know that things are grim. By the time the council has finished we calculate the only things left will be The Coffee Club, The Hogs Breath, The Rustic Olive and the Wholesale Pharmacy. Mainly because they have an evening trade, which might be enough to offset the fact you can’t frequent them during the day due to the noise and dust. Mind you it hasn’t been enough to save one of the pubs... who ever heard of a pub closed on a Tuesday night in Australia.

On the bright side the area will have the cohesive appearance the council was aiming for. It will be a swish looking area, with an occupancy rate that will be equal that of the luxury apartments... somewhere in the vicinity of 30%. It will be the dawning of a new age for the area. An area that one whit has dubbed Deadcliffe. Perhaps there will be enough left over for a new sign...

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