Will Lillecrapp of the Chalet & Co cafe with his wife Connie Pai.
Will Lillecrapp of the Chalet & Co cafe with his wife Connie Pai.

Couple’s will to survive despite a hard road ahead

At the moment it almost seems a bridge too far for Will Lillecrapp of the Chalet & Co cafe in Sunrise Beach resuming something like normal trading.

In recent months, Mr Lillecrapp and his wife Connie Pai have been battling the double hit of COVID-19 and the ongoing disruptions of the Orealla Cres bridge replacement traffic disruptions.

Cafe is triple whammied by road diversion

Bridge rebuild to close busy road

Now the latest potential coronavirus outbreak in Queensland threatens to throw local trading futures into doubt once more, just when they’ve worked hard to claw back to 70 per cent of their normal trading levels.

They’ve also had to endure reduced parking in their street as traffic is rerouted past their front door in Tingira Cres, but thanks to good service and loyal customers, Mr Lillecrap said they were hanging on.

The new bridge at Sunrise has reached the halfway mark.
The new bridge at Sunrise has reached the halfway mark.

“We’re lucky we’ve got the JobKeeper at the moment, I guess, even though two of our (five) staff that were on it have left,” he said.

“We’re doing OK.

“We have our little rushes, the locals have been really, really good.”

He said if the cafe was solely reliant on tourist trade, it would struggle.

And the cafe owners couldn’t understand why Noosa Council had not listened to more than 400 petitioners requesting a temporary pedestrian crossing be put in the street to help negotiate the detour traffic build up.

“The idea is so people can cross the road safely, not just for our cafe,” Mr Lillecrapp said.

He said councillor Amelia Lorentson had tried to help them but “there’s just so much power they have on their own without it going to a general (council) meeting”.

A council spokesperson said “the presence of a zebra type pedestrian crossing would not be appropriate on safety grounds” as forcing larger volumes of traffic to suddenly stop could lead to serious collisions with pedestrians, especially children.

Setting the main supports for the new bridge in place.
Setting the main supports for the new bridge in place.

The council would also have to remove further parking in the street to put in a crossing and lighting which might cause local glare problems.

The detours will remain in place until early September, with motorists encouraged to avoid David Low Way and travel via the Sunshine Motorway.

Council announced this week that it was at the halfway stage of the bridge construction as nine concrete deck units were installed this week each weighing 13.5 tonnes.

There were prefabricated offsite at Beaudesert and transported to the construction zone by semi-trailer.

“We needed about an hour for each deck unit to be installed to ensure they were properly in place and secure,” SGQ Civil operations manager Paul Biggs said.

“Once the beams are in position and secure, we put in stainless steel bolts which are grouted into position with high strength grout, and that’s what will lock the whole system together.”


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