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2016-08-22 07:03:40

Angry traders fear doors will close Maitland councillor Bob Geoghegan came under attack on Wednesday from about 20 placard waving city traders who held a protest slamming Maitland City Council's decision to approve stage two of The Levee without "proper community consultation". The business operators, most from cafes and restaurants, said stage two, which includes a 128 seat restaurant, will eat up what little parking is left in the city centre and run in direct opposition to their businesses. Traders told Fairfax Media they fear jobs will be lost, cafes and restaurants will close and the decision will sound the death knell for many other businesses. Traders protest in the LeveePictures: PERRY DUFFIN They are also angered that no public toilets will be provided in the new restaurant development, however Cr Geoghegan said private toilets in the restaurant can be used by the public. One business operator Bob Dennerly said Cr Geoghegan did not care about the traders and said he was only attending the rally for appearances because he wants to be the next mayor of Maitland. ALP candidate for the seat of Paterson Meryl Swanson attended the rally briefly but left before it finished. At one stage it appeared council's Planning, Environment and Lifestyle group manager Bernie Mortomore was about to make an appearance but he made a hasty retreat from Lowes Menswear and did not take part in the event. Steph Purdon from Lavenders told the rally she has already had to retrench two of her 16 staff members and fears her business will go belly up if the restaurant proceeds. "Things have gone backwards and I'm gone if that restaurant goes in," she said. "I knew about the restaurant but didn't realise how big it was. I think council is trying to make us a Darby Street but it's not working and that's not who we are. We have to find our own identity." Trish Johnson from King Bills said the restaurant will also have a dire effect on her employer and said the lack of parking in the city does not help. "Where are the parking officers? I've seen cars parked all day outside King Bills and never get booked," she said. Another trader Andrea Freeman told Cr Geoghegan the competition is healthy but said most businesses, when starting up, have to jump through hoops. "Council comes in and ticks all the boxes and doesn't have to jump through the hoops for heritage or wheelchair access for example. It's the fact that you're not playing by the rules," she said. She also suggested a free shuttle bus service to ferry workers and shoppers from carparks on the fringe of The Levee to the city centre. Peter Cooper from the Art Depot Cafe suggested a meeting between council representatives and some traders may help to clear some issues. Latest News Christine Forster: Taking on Clover Moore for lord mayorBabies with poor thyroid function missed at birth do worse on NAPLAN test in primary school, finds NSW studyParramatta Council investigates Emeritus Mayor John Chedid disappearing mysteryDaiso Japan has exploded in Australia but are its $2.80 items really a bargain?China rises as the international market of choice Ray Ban RB3484 Sunglasses Arista Frame Crystal Light Green Lens
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