The Light Rail connecting Sydney with many of its Eastern Suburbs has become a contentious development. The work hasn’t started yet and the project is far from completion. Even before the ground is dug up, there are issues making innumerable people living and doing business along the route quite anxious and uncertain. One of the hardest hit would be the residents and business owners in Kingsford.
The impact of the Light Rail on real estate in Kingsford is already noticeable. Now, business owners are shutting shops, the residents have come on the streets protesting and asking for more information and there is a great deal of ambiguity among all and sundry.
Recently, the works at Kensington site compound that ended in August created discomfort for many. People taking the Ascot Street near Doncaster Avenue had to bear the brunt. In September, the investigation work at Kingsford and Kensington which will happen through the day and night will be creating a nuisance with its redirected traffic, closed lanes, changes to pedestrian norms and localization of traffic. From residents to businesses, commuters to strollers, everyone is going to be affected.
But those are just the interim problems. Businesses located on Anzac Parade in Kensington are shutting shop. They are aware that the project would take at least eleven months to complete in their area and the complete project will take about three years if not more. They fear that the construction will turn customers away and that would compel them to shut shop. In anticipation and fear, anxiety and concern, they are being proactive in moving their businesses to other locations. Surely, the Light Rail project was not meant to create or instill fear in people and effectively hamper the economy and local businesses. From pharmacies to cafes, they are all thinking how to salvage their enterprises and thus are considering options to move to other locales. Popular shopping strips may bear a deserted look once the construction starts.
The situation is pretty grim wherever you go, from Kingsford to Kensington or to Maroubra. Only those areas that are not being directly affected by the project are perhaps immune, but to what extent no one knows for sure.
Way back in March, the Daily Telegraph featured a Kingsford optometrist and local resident groups calling for clarity on parking losses, bus changes and more in the South East Light Rail plan. The optometrist, Greg Tannos is uncertain if his Optical Illusions, which is located within the Kingsford Family Medical Centre, would be able to bear the impact of the construction that would inevitably affect his business. Then there are long term issues like loss of parking space and traffic or lane rules.