State government plans to introduce 24-hour clearways on major roads in St George have angered shop owners, MPs and Bayside Council.
“It’s war,” declared Bayside Council mayor Bill Saravinovski of the proposal he said would “kill off” many businesses on Princes Highway, Rocky Point Road and The Grand Parade.
Cr Saravinovskli said there were also rumours Stoney Creek Road could be included.
“RMS (Roads and Maritime Services) say they want to come and talk to us in May,” he said.
“They are not welcome. We won’t be meeting them until they take this outrageous proposal off the table.”
Rockdale MP Steve Kamper revealed the move after a “confidential” approach from RMS to the council was leaked.
Roads Minister Melinda Pavey admitted plans were being developed.
“Yes, there will be an impact, there is no doubt about that,” she told 9 News. “These are very busy roads. We have to weigh up the benefits to the majority of the population against [local concerns].”
Cr Saravinovski said he “wasn’t impressed” by the minister’s comments, “which are basically telling us to go to b-------”.
“We accept clearways are necessary in the morning and afternoon, but this is going too far,” he said.
“We are drawing a line in the sand.”
Cr Saravonovski said the loss of 50-60 parking spaces on The Grand Parade at Brighton-Le-Sands would be devastating for businesses as well as beach-goers.
“[RMS] tried this on some years ago until the premier intervened,” he said.
In a statement released by Ms Pavey’s office, RMS said it had “not developed a proposal for new and extended clearways on the Princes Highway at Rockdale”.
No response was received regarding the other major roads.
Newsagent Angela He said a 24-hour clearway would be the end of the business she bought on Rocky Point Road 12 years ago, and which has been operating for more than 80 years.
“All of the local shop owners are worried,” she said.
”The government should be helping small businesses, not taking customers away.”
Ashley Alhashimi, of La Petit cakes, on Rocky Point Road, said, “Running a business is a big enough challenge in itself – you don’t need anything more.”
Tanya Kladis, at Cafe Neo, said a 24-hour clearway would have “a huge impact on our business”.
“We already have limited parking, with people from the hospitals parking in the side streets,” she said.
Labor MPs Steve Kamper and Chris Minns said local businesses would pay the price for the “half-baked” F6 motorway proposal, which would attract traffic to roads around President Avenue, Kogarah.
The RMS statement said the 2013 Sydney Clearway Strategy identified more than 1000 kilometres of Sydney’s busiest roads for exploration of new and extended weekday and weekend clearways.
“RMS has not developed a proposal for new and extended clearways on the Princes Highway at Rockdale,” the statement said.
“Motorists, residents, councils and businesses are engaged during the development of any future clearway proposals and alternate business parking proposals.”