JUNCTION Street property owner John Bowden has lost more than $60,000 in commercial rent over the past decade, a loss he links to the failed Junction Court project.
Having bought buildings adjacent to the taxi rank in what he admitted was a marginal part of the CBD, he has taken an active interest in the impact Junction Court had on business since the 1990s.
He said a combination of changes to the lower end of Junction Street created a tough retail environment.
“I have had six tenants in 12 years in two Junction Street shops,” he said.
“A lot of those people went broke and some lost everything, including marriages.
“Over the past 10 years or so blind, Freddy could see why.
“The antisocial behaviour in the area over many years has rendered it a no-go area for many people.”
In 2010 Mr Bowden made a petition which was signed by all property owners and tenants calling for Junction Court to be reopened to traffic.
Mr Bowden, who lobbied councillors over many years to have Junction Court opened to traffic, said he was pleased last year the majority voted to open the area.
However he raised concerns that Mayor Joanna Gash and a few councillors voted against opening the area to traffic.
“I’ve been lobbying to have it permanently opened to traffic,” he said.
“Now that it is nearing being opened it is sad to see some councillors attempting to white-ant the process at this late stage rather than getting on with the job and trying to make it a success.
“Joanna Gash stated prior to her election as mayor that she was horrified that Nowra had three separate business districts and that this could have only occurred because of poor town planning.
“Now is the time for her council to show it is capable of making good town planning decisions, as well as making good some of the poor planning decisions of the past.
“Opening Junction Court to traffic is the best thing that could happen to this part of the CBD,” Mr Bowden said.
Cr Gash believed she was doing the right thing by the community, not just property owners, in voting against opening Junction Court to traffic.
“It is a democratic society and I was outvoted on council,” Cr Gash said.
“I see this slightly differently to Mr Bowden.
“I’m looking at this from the whole community point-of-view.
“I think if Mr Bowden asked around the community he would find quite a lot of people think it should not be opened to traffic.
“I feel he might be a bit behind the times, but the decision has been made.”
Cr Gash said she thought there would be more advantages to the businesses in that area if they had people walking past them, rather than cars driving past them.
The decision as to whether Junction Court will be closed for special events will be discussed at council on Tuesday night.