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‘Businesses will grow with a helping hand’

Tuesday, 18th March, 2014

Red Robin co-owner Gary Werch says Council could do more to help businesses. Red Robin co-owner Gary Werch says Council could do more to help businesses.

A local deli owner agrees with Mayor Wincen Cuy’s recent comments about the city’s future, but says City Council should be more supportive.

In response to a recent article in the BDT about businesses closing, Gary Werch, co-owner of the Red Robin, said Council needed to do more.

“My wife Lisa and I moved to Adelaide 12 months ago. I come back every four to six weeks,” Mr Werch said.

“When I left last time the negativity and depressive state of people’s attitude was overwhelming. But it is the opposite to what I am seeing now. All I see is growth.

“Businesses going under is a natural progression. You know this town is going to change. But there is lots of opportunity here. You’ve just got to keep your eyes and ears open.”

Mr Werch said support was key to keeping businesses afloat.

“I agree with what Wincen Cuy is saying. The issue is, we don’t get much support from Council.

“It is up to the individual to run their business appropriately. Some support, mentorship or training would benefit the future of business.”

Mr Werch agreed with Mayor Cuy’s comments about accessibility. He said he had this problem at the Red Robin.

“We have been approaching Council about the parking and traffic issues since 2012. We’ve chased Council but the issue hasn’t been resolved.”

Mr Werch wanted angle parking; Wills Lane be made one way and bitumised; and footpaths fixed. He said a petition for these changes at the Red Robin was filling up quickly.

“The Gypsum Street precinct is filled 100 per cent,” he said.

“But we can’t attract more customers with the parking the way it is - soon we will start to lose business.”

Consultation was the most important thing, Mr Werch said.

“Council should consult with small businesses about their needs. Both Council and small businesses are thinking about their survival.

“We need more initiatives to help small businesses.

“I’m not saying Council hasn’t been supportive, but we need more consultation and correspondence with small businesses.”

City Council’s Manager of Infrastructure, Paul DeLisio, said in regards to the parking application, traffic counts have been undertaken and the area was reviewed.  

“Council is completing a report which will go to either the April or May traffic committee meeting,” Mr DeLisio said.

“Whilst (angle parking) is viable, it may increase the risks to motorists due to potential conflict with vehicles reversing out of the angle parks.

“Conversion to angle parking would create only two additional parking spots. 

“Gypsum Street is a regional road and carries significant volumes of traffic including heavy vehicles. 

“There is a concern that motorists exiting the angle park will impede traffic flow and increase risks to other motorists. 

“The Traffic Committee has noted that at an earlier time, there was angle parking at this location. Clearly it reverted back to parallel parking at some point in time.”

Mr DeLisio said the Traffic Committee needs to balance the additional parking spaces against any potential increase in risks to road users. 

Council’s General Manager, Therese Manns, said the NSW Government has traditionally provided support to small businesses through initiatives.

“They are now currently running a pilot project with four Local Government areas called ‘Small Business Friendly Councils’ and we are looking forward to seeing the results of that pilot as it is something that we may be able to benefit from in the future,” she said.

“As a Local Government, indirectly we support local businesses through infrastructure and service provision such as waste services.

“At Broken Hill we also support the tourism industry which has a flow on effect to other businesses in the city.

“Small businesses are important not just to the local economy, but certainly NSW.

“Council is always willing to listen to business owners about the opportunities and challenges that they are faced with.”

Ms Manns said Council was not funded to financially assist individual small businesses.

“We are able to point small businesses in the right direction and from a whole of community perspective are very interested at being at the table with local business to discuss broader strategies for doing business in the city,” she said.

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