Community Supports Coogee Bay Road UpgradeLocal residents may already be aware of some construction work happening on Coogee Bay Road. As of September 17, a major upgrade project of Coogee town centre began. The work, to be carried out between Arden Street and Brook Street, will be completed in two stages. Stage 1 will continue through to December, whilst Stage 2 will begin in March and continue until late 2019. So don’t fret, the good people at Randwick Council have carefully scheduled things so that you can enjoy a construction-free summer!
The project is a result of consultation with local residents back in 2013 (yeah, we know that’s five years ago, but these things take time). In a survey of 1,787 Coogee residents, ratepayers and business owners, 76 per cent of respondents stated that improving Coogee Bay Road was important or very important and 72 per cent were in favour of widening the footpaths. 78 per cent wanted to see an improvement in the management of commercial waste bins, 69 per cent wanted better outdoor dining options and 68 per cent wanted to see more attractive shop fronts.
“Coogee is a nationally renowned tourist destination as well as a local village with its own character,” Randwick Mayor Lindsay Shurey said.
“This upgrade will enhance Coogee’s reputation and make it even more vibrant and attractive.”
So what can we expect to see from this $5 million project?
Upgrade features will include the removal of overhead powerlines, widening of footpaths and installation of new pavers. The new and improved streetscape will also include 12 new Callery pear trees and street furniture upon which residents and visitors can relax and enjoy the local buzz.
The idea is to improve public safety while creating more space for people. The hope is that tourism and local businesses will also thrive with increased space for outdoor dining options and inviting street furniture. The upgrade will also include additional safety measures as part of Council’s anti-terrorism obligations, including impact-rated bollards and concrete seats.
And if you, like the rest of us, live in constant fear of finding a place to park, don’t stress. Once construction is over, Coogee Bay Road will remain a two-way street with free on-street parking and a similar amount of spaces available on both sides of the road. This all sounds fine and dandy in theory,but how do local residents and business owners feel about the project?
David Martin, owner of Courtyard Cafe on Coogee Bay Road, has lived in the area for over 40 years and is all for the upgrade.
“I think it’s badly needed,” he told The Beast. “Council has been talking about doing this for years.
“I went in to Council’s information session thinking it was going to be a shit-fight, but I think everyone was pleasantly surprised at how much thought and consideration they’ve put into it.”
Working construction around the peak summer season is as much for the local businesses as it is for local residents.
“I think the construction will definitely impact my business but change has got to happen; you can’t just wave a magic wand,” Mr Martin said.
“With construction in stages, the impact should hopefully be minimal if everything goes to plan.”
Local resident Heather Mabry thinks that the project is a positive thing and that the timing of construction is well considered.
“I think if it was done during summer, it would be a shit-show,” she said.
“A lot of residents in the Randwick and Coogee areas haven’t been super happy with Council, not because they don’t do a good job, but because they haven’t always consulted with the community.
“For example with the alcohol ban, they identified a problem, which admittedly is a real one, but came to a conclusion without consulting enough people.
“This time they’ve been more mindful of all parties that want to have a say rather than one specific portion, which is a positive thing.”
So it looks like the general consensus is positive among Coogee residents. Here’s hoping the project doesn’t follow in the footsteps of our beloved light rail construction, though, or you’ll be cashing in your super before you see any Callery pear trees near the place!