Traders oppose changes to afternoon clearways

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram A government proposal for amended hours of operation for clearways in the afternoons has received a mixed reaction from traders and a Greek councillor with the  City of Stonnington.Tim Pallas, Minister for Roads and Ports announced changes in the afternoon hours of operation for clearways within a 10km radius from the CBD on Wednesday and claimed they are designed to achieve consistency for clearway times across the city. All clearways within 100 metres of major intersections will start at 3 pm.Clearways that currently start before 4pm will start at 3pm while all other clearways will start at 4 pm.All afternoon clearways will finish at 7 pm.The new hours of operation represent a major step back from the original Government proposal for a 3 pm start for all clearways.However the Government has not yet announced a start date for the amended hours of operation.Jim Pothitos, Chapel Street traders’ association president, welcomed the government backdown but opposed the 3 pm start to clearways within 100 metres of major intersections.“Our position is that this distance should be shortened to 20 metres, otherwise the impact on certain shopping strips will be very negative,” Mr Pothitos said.Eugene Nottermans, Chairman of the Inner City Business Association, also highlighted the negative impact the 3pm start of cleaways near major intersections would have on small business.“In some shopping centres this would take away all parking, High Street would lose 25 percent of its parking and Toorak Rd probably about 50 percent of its parking.”  The traders met with local parliamentarian and Cabinet Secretary Tony Lapton who defended the government’s plan. However local traders were not satisfied with his response.“We are in no way impressed with the offering because when you look at the details of it, it’s maintaining the 10am [morning clearway ending] as well as introducing a 3pm partial clearway enforcement,” Mr Nottermans stressed. “This is economically irresponsible in the midst of the global financial crisis which is a catastrophe of incredible proportions that still hasn’t been anticipated,” he added. “Where is the cost benefit study? Where is the economic benefit study that tells you this is the way forward?” Opposition leader Ted Baillieu reiterated on Wednesday the Coalition’s objection to the plan.“In terms of clearways, we said all along the government had got this wrong. They scoffed, and indeed today Tim Pallas has indicated that the government’s going to back down. But they are only backing down in part and there will still be many businesses left short. That remains a problem,” said Baillieu.The Opposition has maintained that the Brumby government took action on clearways without consulting with traders or  local councils. City of Stonnington Councilor, Tasos Athanasopoulos cautiously welcomed the plan on the basis that it will be implemented on a trial basis. However, he expressed his concern that trial periods often end up being permanent arrangements. “I personally do not agree with this trial, only because if they did their job properly and went through the consultation process and assessed the situation there is no way they would go ahead with this policy,” said Cr Athanasopoulos. A spokesman for Tim Pallas said to Neos Kosmos English Edition that the new afternoon hours of operation for clearways are permanent and that the government will be working along with councils and traders to fine-tune their implementation.last_img

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