OPENING Junction Court to traffic has encouraged a community often accused of apathy to speak out.
And Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash has encouraged people to let council know how they feel.
From prominent local business owners and councillors to people passing by in the street, the opinions are flowing fast.
Last year, Shoalhaven City Council confirmed Junction Court would be opened to eastbound traffic.
The project is taking shape, with bollards now indicating the one-way lane traffic will travel down.
One of the most popular questions has been about the removal of seating from the area.
This was only a temporary measure. The seats will be reinstalled once the tactile surface indicators have been installed.
Twenty-five thousand small metal dots, known as tactiles, are being installed. They are designed to let sight-impaired people know they are approaching a road.
Anne Snow owns Anne’s Secondhand Bookshop, which is one of the closest businesses to the area.
She is annoyed at the temporary closures and the lack of consultation she received from council about the work.
She said her business has almost closed due to the disturbance.
“For three months Junction Court was closed last year,” she said.
“In that time my takings dropped by 90 per cent, and not a word from council.
“My business only just survived.
“Just the other day there was so much construction here that I only had three customers, but when they moved the barriers I had about 90 people come in before closing time.
“I’m the only shop that fronts onto Junction Court and I never get asked about it.”
Mrs Snow also raised concerns about traffic congestion. She said the intersection between Junction Street and O’Connell Lane was already troublesome with taxis parking illegally and delivery trucks trying to back into the area.
Traffic was also the main concern of Jim McDonald from Vincentia.
“I think this has the potential to cause traffic jams and gridlock in Nowra,” he said.
“I’m not sure many people will want to sit out here eating their lunch in traffic fumes,” he said.
Kate Orchard from Sanctuary Point said council could have spent the money elsewhere.
“Whether it’s opened to traffic or not, I think it was a waste of money,” she said.
“I would rather see them keep the traffic out of there. Surely, there were plenty of other things council could have spent the money on.”
Shoalhaven councillors Jemma Tribe, Patricia White and Mayor Joanna Gash have voiced their opposition to the area being opened to traffic.
Cr Gash said she was “dead against it from the start”.
“I urge people to let council know what they think about it.
“It’s probably too late to change it but if we made a mistake we need to recognise that mistake,” she said.
Caroline Eichhorn from Bomaderry was happy to share her opinion.
“If it is going to be opened up to traffic, it should be made so Junction Street crosses the highway and connects to Nowra Fair [Stockland].”
“It is a place people like to sit. Every week when I’m in town I like to sit out there and have a cigarette. There’s not many places left for smokers to have a cigarette.
“I often see people from the shops in the area taking a break or having lunch on the seats out there,” she said.
GROUNDWORK: Shane Lewis, the owner of Step Safe Australia, and Rick Murphy install 25,000 tactile ground surface indicators in Junction Court to warn sight-impaired people they are approaching a road.