Four weeks of pain for Loftus shopkeepers after supercell storm

Loftus shopkeepers are hurting badly because of the time it is taking to remove an awning that was damaged in the January 20 supercell storm.

The awning, covering the front of five shops in Loftus Avenue opposite the station, sagged under the weight of rainwater after being punctured by large hailstones.

Because of the danger of collapse, Sutherland Shire Council closed the footpath with temporary fencing, preventing front entry to a bakery, cafe, takeaway food shop, newsagency and liquor store.

Some business owners are trying to keep going by trading through their back doors, accessed from the rear car park, but custom has dropped off greatly.

The awning is the shared responsibility of five building owners, who are individually insured.

The pharmacy at the southern end of the strip is the only business not affected because it has a separate awning.

David Zhu, who owns both the newsagency business and the building in which it is housed, said the situation was "ridiculous".

"It's been three and a half weeks and we still don't know when we will be able to open the front entrances again," he said.

"They say they will demolish and replace the awning, but we don't know when that will be.

"All we have been told is the awning will be removed within the next three weeks.

"Then, they have to go through the council process of putting in a development application for a new awning."

Mr Zhu said trading through the back door was impractical for him because of difficult access to the lottery machines at the front of the shop.

Tommy Le, whose parents have owned Loftus Bakery & Cakes for about 15 years, said the situation was very frustrating because of the delay and only getting second hand information.

"We don't know how much longer it will be before we can have front door access again - it could be another week or a month."

Loftus resident Des Connolly, who bought a takeaway coffee from the back door of the cafe, said he felt very sorry for the business owners.

"From what I have seen, residents are trying to support them, but it is very awkward because you have to go around the back of the shops.

"I think that is a deterrent to some people, which is unfortunate."