Shop owners in Milton who have mixed feelings about town upgrades know some aspects need to be done.
The Clutha District Council is investing $6 million to replace old water, stormwater and wastewater pipes in Union St, between High St and Abercrombie St, as well as putting powerlines in the Milton township underground.
Improving Milton’s Main St was one of the top priorities identified in the ‘‘Our Place Milton’’ community plan.
Work began recently and is expected to take over a year with ‘‘long-term’’ minor disruptions.
The council published an update on its website, stating between July 17 and 23 work would be completed in 50m sections to ‘‘minimise disruption to residents, retailers and motorists as much as possible’’.
Chris McDonald, owner of Framing Plus in Main St, said the upgrades were ‘‘a pain’’ but he knew they needed to be done.
‘‘There’s definitely a positive change with traffic not being completely diverted [as it was originally going to be],’’ he said.
‘‘I’m not super happy with the bigger picture and beautification side, but it’ll be good once the first part is finished.’’ The website states ‘‘in the work area there will be no parking on both sides of the road’’. ‘‘The location of pipe work means traffic lanes will be moved across and into the parking spaces on one side so that both traffic lanes can remain open.’’
Rachel Wightman, owner of Provincial Antiques, said she was unhappy with some aspects of the overall plan, but there were some ‘‘good things’’.
‘‘Some of the work is absolutely needed. But some, including tree planting, is absolutely not needed,’’ she said.
Staff at Forum Cafe said they knew the replacement side of the work in the township ‘‘had to be done’’.
‘‘It’s more of an anticipation of how long it will take — whether it’s around a year, or longer,’’ one staff member said.
‘‘It definitely needs done. It’s important.
‘‘We’re just more worried about disruptions on the street, because that affects business.
‘‘We’re just looking forward for it to be complete.’’
The Milton Main St upgrade was first proposed in 2017.
Feedback received on the community plan showed that improving the street and upgrading the toilets were high priorities for the local community.
The project is the first phase of a wider visual and amenity streetscape upgrade for the town, expected to cost a further $5 million.