QUEANBEYAN City Council has once again come under fire from local business owners for its controversial traffic changes to the Monaro Street and Crawford Street intersection.
The complaints come just two weeks after Queanbeyan mayor Tim Overall defended council's decision to prevent traffic from turning right onto Crawford Street from Monaro Street.
Mid City Motor Inn owner Anna Simeoni has told the Queanbeyan Age she believes the no right turn policy is costing her business more than $2000 a week in lost revenue. She has also had to cut staff hours because of low occupancy rates.
Mrs Simeoni has managed the Mid City Motor Inn for three decades and has seen it through tough financial times in the past.
She dismissed Council's suggestions the recent downturn in her business was because of struggles in the overall economy, instead setting the blame square at the feet of the changed traffic conditions in the city's CBD.
"I get a lot of repeat customers because I've been here 30 years, they know my number, they know where I am," she said. "But it's the ones who will just drive, come into town and think 'oh, where will I stay tonight?' I am not getting those people."
Council introduced the no right turn policy onto Crawford Street in April of last year in conjunction with wider Crawford Street Lifestyle Precinct developments.
A council spokesperson told the Age that the decision was based on the advice of the Local Traffic Committee to restrict heavy vehicles into Crawford St for both safety and precinct amenity reasons.
"This has been a very positive project for the Queanbeyan community, however continual reporting of criticism from one or two businesses is unwarranted," the spokesperson said.
Mrs Simeoni said she had initially been supportive of the Crawford Street Lifestyle Precinct but disagrees with the no right turn policy.
"Last April, they decided to put up a temporary no right hand turn into Crawford Street and from that week onwards we would sit here 12 hours a day on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday and not pick up one person from the street.
"I had my bookings ... but not the Mr and Mrs 'oh, let's just stay here'."
Mrs Simeoni said the new traffic conditions had made it difficult for patrons, particularly those not familiar with the area, to travel down Crawford Street.
"Customers tell me 'we just can't find you, where are you?'. Before I'd say 'come over the bridge, if you're coming from Sydney or the Coast, go to the first set traffic lights and turn right and there we are'.
"Now, it's 'go over bridge to the second set of traffic lights you have to go right, go right again and right again to come back up the street again'. It's confusing."
Mid City Motor Inn was just one of a number of local businesses contacted by the Age this week to express similar concerns.
Eddie Nguyen has managed the Wallaby Motel for a decade. He said last year was one of the worst for the business with a roughly 26 per cent downturn.
"Customers have told us they've had problems coming down this way. With the no right turn they have to go down a different road and sometimes they get lost," Mr Nguyen said.
"It's a hassle, especially for new customers from Sydney and Melbourne. They type it into their GPS system and they think it's taking them the wrong way."
Olympia Inn manager Peter Steve meanwhile, confirmed his business had also suffered with a 15 per cent drop in trade over the past year.
"Business is generally very good but it's that top-up business, the final few rooms which have been hard to fill," he said.
"Before you used to get people driving past, stopping in and asking for a quote. We don't get that any more.
"I used to get cranky when they'd ask for those quotes but now I'd be happy to get those people in."
In response to the concerns, council said it has been monitoring Crawford Street motel occupancy rates in comparison to those in the wider Queanbeyan and Canberra area.
"Council has kept a close eye [on] motel occupancy rates in Queanbeyan and Canberra and they have been discussed with the Crawford St motels at onsite meetings," the council spokesperson said.
"From our discussions, it appears that the Crawford St motels area [is] faring no worse than other Queanbeyan motels."