Councillor wants one way road through Cronulla Mall despite business, council objections

Cronulla Mall. Picture: John Veage
Cronulla Mall. Picture: John Veage

One Sutherland Shire councillor wants to see cars in Cronulla Mall and she is fighting to make it happen - despite opposition from fellow councillors, the Chamber of Commerce and shop owners.

Councillor Marie Simone said she has filed a motion to overturn the council's decision against conducting a review of the mall upgrades and her proposal to create a one-way vehicle thoroughfare at the centre.

"Since arbitrarily creating the mall in 1988, locals have endured greater traffic congestion and those shops that aren't close to the beach have seen a fall in their retail business due to the loss of 100 short-term parking spaces," she said.

"It's limited traffic access to the entire precinct and seen Cronulla change from a bustling seaside village to a drab and somewhat dilapidated area.

"People avoid Cronulla now because of the lack of road access into the suburb.

"Most of the busy restaurants and bars are in the side streets and alleyways of Cronulla where they have good visibility and passing traffic flow. A road through the mall would give rise to even more evening activity."

However, fellow councillor Carol Provan said the Cronulla Chamber of Commerce had spoken out against Cr Simone's suggestion.

Cr Provan said she was 'disappointed' with Cr Simone's decision to file a motion to try and overturn the council's decision.

"Cr Simone has been at all the workshops and meetings about the upgrades and not once has she raised this issue," she said.

"We have already started the process - in two weeks time works will start on the Kingsway.

"I think some of the empty shops in the area are down in southern end, not in the mall itself and I don't think that is due to traffic issues."

Councillor Michael Forshaw spoke at length at Monday's meeting.

He told the Leader that Cr Simone's motion was "outrageous".

"Council, the chamber and community have worked on this for years," he said.

"We have had monthly meetings with chamber and we set up a reference group which also met on five or six occasions - and we put the project out on public exhibition last year.

"Not once did Cr Simone raise the idea of bringing the road back to the mall.

"Work starts in two weeks time and I think it is outrageous that she raised this motion now.

"Part of the new plan is to have outdoor dining down there - and we can't do that if there is a road running through it."

The Cronulla Chamber of Commerce issued a letter to Sutherland Shire councillors which stated that prolonging the upgrade would be a 'breach of faith with the business community'.

"The Cronulla Chamber of Commerce is strongly opposed to such a regression in modern design for town centres," the letter stated.

"Many thousands of ratepayer dollars have already been spent on the concept, consultation, design, planning and readiness for implementation."

Cr Provan said refurbishment of the mall, which includes tiles, lighting and pot plants, was 'long overdue'.

"The mall was orignally done in 1988... and over time the council has spent money in different areas and the mall hasn't really been a priority," she said.

"But now we have a way forward so we can freshen up the whole place.

"We can give our beautiful mall a new lease on life and put a whole lot of enthusiasm into the community."