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By Linda Daniele

Glebe’s Chamber of Commerce has dismissed reports that traders on Glebe Point Road have been forced to close due to loss of business during the strip’s upgrade.

Executive member of the Chamber, Chris Newton, praised the contractors carrying out the construction along the road. “Thankfully no one has closed their doors because of the upgrade and we couldn’t ask for any better than the contractor GMV Urban,” she said.

Ms Newton said that the operators of the Heavenly Bliss spiritualism shop that shut recently had been planning to run their business online for a while, and did not close because of a decline in business as a result of the upgrade.

An iconic second-hand record shop also closed down recently, with the couple who had operated it pursuing long term travel plans.

Community meetings take place every fortnight at the Glebe Youth Service for anyone with gripes and a community liaison officer, Grant Donohue, walks the street daily in his role of working with local residents and businesses to resolve any construction issues that arise.

“The Chamber asked for both the meetings and the liaison officer and with the City of Sydney Council agreeing, it’s made the upgrade process so much better for the community and traders than the Darlinghurst and Oxford Street experiences,” she said.

Construction work is currently being undertaken on the first block on Glebe Point Road from Parramatta Road to Francis Street, on the eastern side. The block outside the Glebe Public School, together with colourful painting of the school’s fence, is almost complete. Next up is the block from Mitchell Street to Norton Street, on the eastern side, an area that Ms Newton said is quite busy.
“People are sort of hanging out, because it’s all quite difficult, and has been going on for nine months already,” she said. “Understandably, everyone’s a bit tired.”

Ms Newton said that bus stops have moved and that this can also aggravate people having to walk further than they normally would. She noted that with winter coming on, things could potentially be worse for traders with possible weather delays.

“But hopefully with work complete by next February, we’ll be ready for a big party,” she said.

It’s Glebe’s 150th birthday in 2009 and for the Chamber of Commerce, City of Sydney and the contractor GMV, completion in time for celebrations is the goal.

Ms Newton said that even though it may be quite a “bland look” when complete, the $14m project will mean that the area has really good foundations.

“The City is going through and replacing everything, clay pipes and ten different types of electricals. The beauty of this upgrade is really the stuff we can’t see,” she said.

This article was first published in City Hub, April 18, 2008 and City News, April 26, 2008.

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