Path delay angers business

Shannon BochenekManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Toy World owner Jenny Hanrahan, James the Jeweller part owner Jay James and Chamber of Commerce vice president Michelle Di Salvo stand outside their Giblett Street shop-fronts.
Camera IconToy World owner Jenny Hanrahan, James the Jeweller part owner Jay James and Chamber of Commerce vice president Michelle Di Salvo stand outside their Giblett Street shop-fronts. Credit: Shannon Bochenek / Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

Delays to paving work in the main street are threatening the viability of businesses, according to the Manjimup Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Chamber president Kent Roberts said the project had gone on too long and businesses were hurting.

He is not confident the work will be completed by a new deadline of November 29 set by Manjimup Shire Council.

The council had discussed a three-month timeline at a chamber meeting in April this year, Mr Roberts said.

“The CEO of the shire told us (in April) that it would be done in the next few months,” he said.

However, Manjimup shire president Paul Omodei maintains the project is three months ahead of schedule.

He said the council would release a progress report next week and the paving and new bins would be ready in time for the Cherry Harmony Festival on December 9.

Chamber of Commerce vice president Michelle Di Salvo outside her shop-front on Giblett Street.
Camera IconChamber of Commerce vice president Michelle Di Salvo outside her shop-front on Giblett Street. Credit: Shannon Bochenek / Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

“My plea to the community would be just to be patient and to be tolerant, the end will justify the means,” Cr Omodei said.

Mr Roberts said the chamber was concerned about the shire’s management of the project.

“All the small business are in disbelief,” he said.

“If they ran their businesses the way this project has been run (by the shire) they would be broke.”

Mr Roberts also questioned the method the council used to award the job.

“If the job was quoted as a job price, it would have finished six months ago,” he said.

Cr Omodei said while preparation for the paving was billed on an hourly rate, “cutting in” and “laying” were billed per linear and square metre respectively.

He said aside from a miscommunication on Remembrance Day which caused a significant issue for businesses on that weekend, most delays had been unavoidable.

“It was just that glitch that happened on the 11th of November, Remembrance Day, where the contractor started in the wrong place,” Cr Omodei said.

“So that’s the only glitch. All of the other things I think can be defended from the point of view of the way the weather panned out over the year.”

Cr Omodei said he believed businesses appreciated the long-term benefits of the project.

“The majority of businesses are of that view, that yes, the disruption has cost them money in maybe some lost activity, but they were philosophical in that they had to suffer that,” he said.

“In the end these projects are going to enhance the value of their properties.”

Chamber vice-president Michelle Di Salvo said while businesses were pleased with the aim of the work, it could have been organised better.

“Yes, we’re very happy with what the shire’s doing, but the business owners and the public want to see it finished,” she said.

“The bins that are done look fantastic but the whole thing has been quite long winded.

“It has been an inconvenience to the public.

“It could’ve used better consideration and communication.”

James the Jeweller part owner Jay James said the small inconvenience that his store had put up with would be worth the anticipated positive outcome once the job was done.

Across the road at Toy World, owner Jenny Hanrahan said she did not expect the works to take so long.

“To me, it could’ve been done with better timing, after hours or on weekends,” she said.

Cr Omodei expressed sympathy for businesses affected.

“Things are really happening at a pace at the moment in Manjimup, it’s just that there have been some glitches and there has been an impact on the community.

“I have the greatest sympathy for anyone who has been affected.”

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