By Em Hazeldean
The usually pristine Rockingham beach foreshore has been converted into a construction zone as it undergoes a significant redevelopment.
Local businesses hope it won’t follow in the footsteps of past, similar projects in Mandurah, Scarborough and Elizabeth Quay.
The Scarborough redevelopment is complete and opened in February this year, but businesses struggled to stay afloat after losing trade during the summer months.
The City of Rockingham is closing down foreshore development between December and February to minimise the impact this will have during the peak trading period.
Rockingham mayor Barry Samuels says the city has implemented a number of proactive measures to support local businesses during the foreshore revitalisation.
These include waiving alfresco fees and maintaining pedestrian access throughout the project, as well as going ahead with regular New Year’s Eve and Australia Day celebrations, which attract thousands of visitors to the foreshore.
But beachfront café staff report a decline in patronage since the work began in July.
They say regular customers have been faithful, despite the increased difficulty to find parking and the spoiled ocean views.
“If we didn’t have our regulars it would be hard, they’re our bread and butter for sure,” says Tara Scrivener, barista at Ostro Eatery.
She says their weekend trade hasn’t been affected significantly, but it is quiet during the week.
She believes those who would previously have bought a quick coffee during the week may be finding it too hard.
“We come to the foreshore pretty much every day,” says Rockingham resident Amanda Viviers.
“We haven’t had any problems finding parking or using the businesses down here. We can’t wait until it’s finished.”
The $15.75m project, managed by the City of Rockingham will see improvements to street scaping, additional furniture and seating, a slide onto the beach as well as a grassed amphitheatre.