Elouise Quinlivan, 29 October 2015

CONSTRUCTION of the controversial Eastside Village near the top of the Toowoomba Range is causing heartache for nearby businesses.

Great Divide Motor Inn manager Stephen O’Shea said the business was losing customers because of impacts caused by the development at the intersection of Cohoe and Herries Sts.

“They shut the side street down for about three weeks, so during that time we didn’t get any walk-ins,” he said.

“You pick up around three to four walk-ins a day and we just didn’t get it during that period.”

Mr O’Shea said as well as the loss of walk-ins, the noise caused by construction was driving customers away.

“I can’t just shut up shop and say ‘hey, there’s roadworks out the front don’t come’, we’d have to close,” he said.

“Would you come in if you saw the roadworks and heard the tractors roaring early in the morning?”

Mr O’Shea said the disruption caused by works was the worst in decades for the family business.

“In terms of development, there’s been nothing I can recall that’s affected us like this.”

He said he was losing about $500 a day, but didn’t want to put a figure on total losses.

“I think it’s good for Toowoomba to have development happening, but it has a big impact,” he said.

Mr O’Shea said representatives from Toowoomba Regional Council had shown him initial plans, but he admitted he was surprised by the decline in business.

The United Petroleum service station next-door to the motel is also counting its losses.

Drivers looking to fuel up before heading down the range no longer have right-turning access to United Petroleum, with double lines now along the stretch.

United Petroleum CEO David Szymczak said the company was “less then happy” about the changes.

“It’s had a significant consequence for the service station,” he said.

Mr Szymczak said the service station still had a future despite the losses, but he was disappointed no compensation had been offered.

Eastside Village developer JM Kelly Group was unable to be reached.

Extracted in full from The Chronicle.