It was looking like the end of the world, but now Alexander Street has re-opened for a bright new future amid the multi-million-dollar city-centre upgrade.
Traders who had been weighed down by lack of customers were overjoyed when detour signs were finally lifted from the street on Saturday.
But there is still a way to go in trader-council relations as business people warn against temporarily closing the street again for a party to celebrate the progress and calling in “outside” food vendors and “pop-up” stores for the event.
Robyn Welsh, of Country Hart, who says the jury is still out on the public’s reaction to the improved trading access, said the traders had written to the council raising concerns about the street party proposal.
Rallying the Alexander Street traders, who experienced many weeks of disruption, is Pirie CIvic Newsagency operator Lyn Anderson. “Everyone is rapt. It has been a long four months which is what it took to get this far with the work,” she said.
“I had a great day’s trading on Saturday and Monday. Feedback from the customers is great. You could not wipe the smile off my face on Monday. We are glad to open again and we are never ever closing it again.”
Newsagency worker Tracey Hoskin said the “vibes and energy” were good in the street outside. “It will be lovely when it is finished,” she said.
Port Pirie Regional Council chief executive officer Andrew Johnson said traders had told the council “what they don’t want” for the street party, but were yet to say what they “do want”.
“I think they are jumping the gun or assuming a bit much on that,” he said. A meeting will be held soon to discuss the issue.
He said bollards were still to be fitted to the street and more landscaping would be done as part of the “massive changes and new beginning”.
Work would finish in the street as well as Florence Street, where 13 tall palms have been planted, by the end of this month.
Mayor John Rohde will outline our major projects, including the city-centre upgrade and sport hub, at a yearly conference of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia at Adelaide Oval on Friday.