Businesses raise concerns about pedestrian safety

Pedestrians take their chances along the busy Coolum esplanade at the Watpac redevelopment site. Phioto: Mike Garry/scw1309f
Pedestrians take their chances along the busy Coolum esplanade at the Watpac redevelopment site. Phioto: Mike Garry/scw1309f

The hoardings for Watpac’s esplanade development were barely in place before Beach Road traders were raising concerns about pedestrians not being able to access their businesses safely.

In fact, even before Sunshine Coast councillor Vivien Griffin got to the official launch of the Watpac project, she was in deep discussion with the traders affected by the demolition.

The traders are concerned that the position of the hoardings means there is no footpath access in front of the construction site.

This means pedestrians heading south on the western side of the David Low Way have to cross the busy road twice, negotiating two sets of traffic lights, just to get to Beach Road.

But many pedestrians do not bother and instead take their chances negotiating the narrow strip between the construction site and the traffic.

Ms Griffin said she would talk to Watpac about the issue.

“I think that’s something we seriously have to discuss because I do not want to see 12 months without that pedestrian access on this western side,” she said.

“It’s about establishing a strong liaison process between Watpac and the traders, recognising they’ve got to make a quid over this period.”

Watpac senior development manager David Tormey said the hoarding placement was a safety decision.

“The primary issue in locating the hoarding where it is, is an agreement with Main Roads – it’s a Main Roads controlled road – and council, and it is deemed to be the safest place to put the hoarding,” Mr Tormey said.

Watpac would be happy to discuss the issue with the council, he said.

Since the meeting with the Beach Road traders, Ms Griffin has spoken with council development assessment director Julie Edwards who has had a meeting with council staff.

“They’ve had a look at the situation down there,” Ms Griffin said.

“They think we can get a solution to arrive at an adequate and safe pedestrian access.”

A letter was being sent to the main roads department to quickly resolve the issue.

“Hopefully, they can look at it fairly swiftly because otherwise people will just try and do what you can clearly see they are doing anyway now,” she said.

“They are determined to do it so let’s give them safe access.”

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