'Surviving or thriving': Frustrated restaurateurs desperate for light rail information

Jan 7, 2023

Southern Gold Coast business owners along the new light rail route are frustrated by a lack of consultation from contractors.

Key points:

  • Local venue owners say they have not been given a time line for works for the next stage of the light rail
  • They're concerned about how construction will affect trade
  • Transport and Main Roads says there are dedicated "place managers" to keep businesses informed

They say it is unclear whether or not dust, jackhammers or large barriers will destroy trade during construction.

Restaurateurs Patrick Rabbath and Scott Imlach want to know how they will be affected by works set to begin on the long-awaited third stage of the light rail from Broadbeach to Burleigh Heads.

Dust, jackhammering or barricades?

But a Transport and Main Roads spokeswoman said GoldlinQ's light rail contractor, John Holland, had "dedicated place managers" to provide on-ground support throughout the construction phases.

"The place managers have been engaging with businesses to gain a detailed understanding of how each operates," she said.

But Mr Rabbath, who owns Rabbath on the Gold Coast Highway, said he had not yet been contacted by anyone.

"I must be living in a different world … to be honest, because no place manager or a dedicated point of contact has contacted me to actually come and tell me exactly what's going on," he said.

"I have absolutely no idea."

A smiling man wears a black and orange printed shirt, stands near a window in a restaurant with hanging lights, dining table.

Mr Rabbath says his customers are worried about access to the restaurant. ( ABC Gold Coast: Bern Young )

Mr Imlach, who operates several southern Gold Coast restaurants, said he had received an email from a John Holland consultant, but the information provided about the time line of the construction work was vague.

"We need to know how it's actually going to work," he said.

The restaurateur said he was seeking clarification on the time frame for the construction work.

"If they're doing it in the middle of the day, is that dust going to come into our restaurants … is it going to be too noisy for us to operate? We don't know any of that information yet," Mr Imlach said.

A serious-looking man in a black t-shirt with a small white logo stands in a room with chairs, boxes, stacked on tables.

Scott Imlach says he too is waiting to hear more detail about the construction work.( ABC Gold Coast: Dominic Cansdale )

Need more information to plan

Mr Rabbath said customers were wondering how they would get to his business once the work began.

He said they needed time to plan.

"We know that they're not going to close our business down -- that's not realistic. But we just want some information," he said.

He said the information could be the difference between surviving and thriving.

Place managers 'minimise impacts'

The Transport and Main Roads spokeswoman said the place managers were assisting John Holland to "minimise impacts and help businesses prepare for major construction".

She said engagement with businesses was a priority during construction, which would be "ramping up at times of heightened activity".

The spokeswoman said more than 1,000 underground service and environmental investigations had been undertaken, along with initial site mobilisation and detailed design activity.

"The first phase of major construction includes public utility relocation works," the spokeswoman said.

"This is essential to ensure the new light rail infrastructure does not interfere with services and to provide access for future maintenance."

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