Traders in Pin Oak Crescent, already struggling under COVID-19 restrictions, will be further impacted by four months of streetscape works due to begin 1 June.
Moonee Valley City Council has told traders that streetscape works will be undertaken from next month until 30 September. The funding allocated in council’s 2020/21 budget is $530,000.
Traders have indicated their support for the beautification works, but have iterated their concern about the timing given access to footpaths and car-parks will be restricted.
Currently, cafes and restaurants on Pin Oak Crescent can only serve takeaway and rely on the footpath for customers to wait to be served, or to wait to enter a shop already filled with customers.
Casual assistants have already lost shifts and traders are operating in dire financial circumstances. Some shops have had to close until restrictions lift.
Traders have asked MVCC to delay the works until next year to give them time to recover from the financial decimation they have experienced since March this year, so they can cope with additional losses to trade during the four month period of work.
MVCC awarded the tender for the works in mid-April, to Evergreen Civil, when trading restrictions were already in place.
Council has indicated to the traders that it will face heavy compensation penalties if the contract is delayed.
Several residents in Pin Oak and surrounding streets have said they are unaware of the streetscape plans that were put out to tender in January this year.
Traders were not notified of the proposed works prior to plans being drawn up in June 2019.
The plans include:
- Bluestone feature paving areas at Norwood Sweet, Newmarket Station and Racecourse Rd
- Retaining walls for seating along the western side of Pin Oak Crescent
- Providing more understorey planting
- Using water sensitive urban design treatment
- Additional bike parking
- Installation of an additional stormwater pit at Norwood Street corner
The following plans are not available on the Council’s website and were not provided to the MV Blog by MVCC despite requests.
These plans are a slight variation on the 2016 plans that indicated the footpath outside shops would be prioritised.
Instead, the plans indicate that the western footpath will be repaved with red brick banding similar to the eastern side.
Council has been asked how the works on the western side will be integrated with the current Metro works to the station platform, but no response has been provided.
The station area has been fenced off since late January pending works to the platform retaining wall and the removal of trees – the permit for which has not yet been advertised.
Despite ongoing requests, timelines for Metro’s works have not been provided. The fence remains around the perimeter of the station.
Works on the station side include a new custom brick retaining wall for seating, which council says is consistent with the 2016 plan.
It’s not clear from the plans whether the custom timber seating, installed in 2018, will be retained.
Existing furniture and the bin at the Racecourse Road Plaza, installed recently, will be rearranged and the area repaved with sawn bluestone.
While the project budget appears to be $530,000, itemised costings are “commercial in confidence”.
The 2016 plan indicated that the bluestone pavings for the areas on the plans would cost close to $400,000, and the retaining wall close to $40,000. (Items 1.2 and 4.5 in the table below are not included in the current works.)
Councillors for the area were contacted for comment, but have not responded.
The 2016 plans included a consideration of art works in the underpass and improving visual amenity of the area.