Improvements to help Mary Street

BUSINESS in Gympie is tough for News Express’ Warrick Hosking and other Mary Street traders who held a meeting this week to pool ideas on how a revamp to the main street may boost trade.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Hosking told The Gympie Times there would not be a Mary Street if things continued to run the same way.

Mr Hosking said a recent council survey painted a rosy picture for Gympie businesses, but “the truth is business around the country is shocking”.

“Unless you’re in retail you don’t know what’s happening,” he said.

Mr Hosking admitted he didn’t want The Gympie Times to report on an open forum between Mary Street businesses and Gympie Regional Council held on Tuesday evening at the Civic Centre and would try to ensure the next meeting was closed to the media.

He also said he would not provide the paper with information from future meetings or other comment.

The meeting, he said was held to discuss ways for Mary Street businesses to increase revenue.

Mr Hosking, who instigated Tuesday’s forum, kicked off discussions, saying he thought Gympie was just starting to experience the effects of the global financial crisis.

He said Mary Street needed to be the “hub of the community” and had to make a good impression.

One way to make a better impression was removing current trees and replacing them with species that didn’t lose their leaves; another was a dedicated council employee that could clean up mess and attend to issues in the street as they arose, Mr Hosking said.

“The tree outside the ANZ bank is exploding the road and the pavement,” he said.

Mr Hosking said future predictions showed 1500 people would move to Gympie each year and there were serious traffic issues in Mary Street with the current population.

He said the Fiveways should only have four entrances to help alleviate “standstill” traffic in the afternoons.

In Mr Hosking’s view parking was a big issue with attracting customers to Mary Street.

He proposed bringing back reverse parking and entry to the lower part of Mary Street from the Fiveways with an exit onto Smithfield Street.

Other items on his wish list included loading zones exclusively for loading/unloading regulated with a proposed commercial sticker.

An easy move to get 600 extra customers into Mary Street, he said, was cutting two hour parking back to one hour.

Mr Hosking also proposed relocating a bus stop to Smithfield Street to allow more parking.

Another suggestion was a code of conduct specifying a single opening and closing time for all businesses and a market twice a month to help boost sales.

A general spruce up, new plants, seating and shade sails would complete Mr Hosking’s vision of a new, more profitable Mary Street.

Gympie Times

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