Chamber of Commerce pushes for Esplanade closure
The move to close a portion of the Esplanade has been described as a “no-brainer” by the Cairns Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber president Nick Loukas said an overwhelming majority of locals are in favour of closing the stretch of road between Aplin and Shields Streets, following the recent success of Festival 2018.
“The community support and feedback has been fantastic,” he said. “It allows a more relaxed atmosphere without traffic and more room to move around.”
“Really what should be up for debate is how often it closes, not if it closes.”
Vote in our Esplanade poll
But Mayor Bob Manning said Council is yet to make a decision on the proposed upgrade.
Cr Manning said while he’s thrilled with the success of the decision to close the street during Festival 2018, it’s important to remember the event was built around the Commonwealth Games.
“There was $1.4 million given from the State Government to us,” Cr Manning said. “If you’re spending someone else’s money, you’re going to have a big party.”
He said Council is looking at all possibilities, including realigning the Esplanade, adding more vegetation, and even widening the footpath.
“Whatever we do will please one party and upset another party,” Cr Manning said. “We’ve just got to come down to the ground now and make some good, solid decisions for the right reasons.”
“We’re not saying we’re going to close it, we’re not saying we’re not going to close it,” he said. “Everything’s on the table.”
But Mr Loukas said the closure would benefit everyone, attributing complaints from restaurants in surrounding streets who said they lost business to the additional events from Festival 2018 drawing crowds away.
“I think overall when you improve the traffic flow to the CBD it’s going to benefit the whole CBD,” Mr Loukas said. “If they get the structure of it right the businesses would be supported.”
To have your say on the proposed upgrade, click here.