The State Government is reassuring businesses in Burleigh that they will be supported during construction of the next stage of the Gold Coast light rail.
Works on Stage 3 are already powering ahead, with the final pieces of the iconic Caltex service station demolished on Thursday to make way for the new Burleigh Heads station.
While construction of the next stage of the light rail has been praised by many, several businesses in the popular beachside suburb fear it may drive down sales and deter people from visiting.
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However, speaking from the site in Burleigh Heads today, Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey and Assistant Minister for Tourism Meaghan Scanlon announced the launch of a special program to support businesses during the construction period.
They said that within the next few months, project crews will begin engaging with local businesses to help them with any impacts construction of the light rail may cause.
“There will be plenty of construction happening, which is why we want get in now before they start laying down the tracks to engage meaningfully with businesses to see how we can support as the next stage of light rail is built,” Minister Bailey said.
“The Stage 3 project team will engage with businesses along the Gold Coast Highway and invite them to participate in a questionnaire of their daily operations and requirements, which will feed into managing the impacts of construction.”
The completion of the project, which is slated to be done by 2023, will see the trams able to travel all the way from Helensvale through to Burleigh.
Ms Scanlon said the next stage of light rail would create more than $1.2 billion in economic benefit for the city, along with more than 760 local construction jobs.
“The old servo demolition will allow the Gold Coast Highway to be widened, making way for Burleigh Heads Station, the terminus of the third stage of Gold Coast’s light rail network,” Ms Scanlon said.
“From a tourism perspective, it’ll also unlock new ways for visitors to experience our region and provide an all-important shot in the arm to the $4.7 billion industry.”
According to Minister Bailey, the trams have already cut down congestion on some of the city’s busiest roads by a significant amount.
“The Gold Coast has benefited tremendously from light rail, with more than 50 million trips already taken, cutting traffic on Scarborough Street at Southport by 47 per cent and increasing pedestrian movement to Pacific Fair Shopping Centre by 180 per cent,” Minister Bailey said.
Major construction works on Stage 3 are set to take place early next year once a major contractor is awarded.