Kempsey Post Bypass Economic Impacts Study
Final Report

4 August 2017

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Introduction

This report, commissioned by Kempsey Shire Council, aims to address the Bypass Strategy requirement for longer-term monitoring and assessment of economic impacts, if any, of the Kempsey bypass and the impact of mitigation strategies on businesses. The objectives are to:

  • Document whether the impacts of the bypass were short-term or lingered on for some time, especially due to the continuing presence of road construction workers and construction workers associated with other employment opportunities;
  • Understand what other non-highway related factors may have affected business performance since the last study, as some of these factors could be relatively more important than the impacts of the bypass;
  • Understand the degree of importance of highway generated trade to the economic base of Kempsey and Frederickton four years since the opening of the bypass;
  • Document what other adjustments were made by businesses since the last study;
  • Investigate the impacts of the provision and upgrade of infrastructure designed to mitigate against negative impacts of the bypass on businesses and on the economy of Kempsey, and;
  • Document any further perceived priorities and opportunities on the part of businesses for Council consideration into the future.

The underlying assumption of the present study is that a highway bypass triggers change in the highway related sector of a town economy so that the retail landscape may be quite different in the longer-term (Parolin, 2011). How well businesses, the community and other key stakeholders capitalise on these changes is a key ingredient in managing longer-term post bypass recovery and change.

To understand the above dimensions and provide comparable data, the approach adopted in this study is similar to that of the 2013 study where the After effects are quantified. Given that it is four years since the opening of the Kempsey bypass, two years since the opening of the highway service centre and 18 months since completion of the street revitalisation program in the town centre of Kempsey, the focus of this study is on longer-term monitoring of post bypass impacts. This is an aspect that, with the exception of two studies (Phibbs, Heidrich and Cooney, 2009; Parolin, 2012), has been largely absent from local studies of the economic impacts of bypass roads on town economies.

This report presents the results of the assessment of potential longer-term impacts of the bypass on highway related businesses within Kempsey and at Frederickton, impacts of initiatives such as the streetscape revitalisation program and highway service centre, and likely impacts of the upgrade of the highway from Port Macquarie to Kempsey. The document includes the following information:

  • Background on Kempsey in the post-bypass environment;
  • Key findings of the study in terms of any longer-term economic impact on businesses, or impacts of other changes since 2013; and
  • Conclusions and recommendations.