How other highway bypasses have changed their regions
THE Section D bypass will mark a huge change for the region, but how will Gympie look in 10 years time?
The answer could be brilliant with research showing towns often thrive once traffic is diverted - with one New South Wales town's jobs soaring 21.8 per cent.
Australian transport specialist Dr Bruno Parolin's report Kempsey Post Bypass Impacts found that while there was substantial fear that a 2013 Pacific Highway bypass would kill the town, the economy has actually rocketed.
Along with 249 new jobs, gross annual business turnover also grew from $96 million to $133.4 million, and more than 81 per cent of the town's 92 businesses said it had stayed the same or improved.
"The largest increases have occurred in the more traditional highway related sectors of service stations and eateries but the food sector made a significant contribution to the increase as well," the report said.
It is a change which bodes well for Gympie, which in 2016 reported almost the same unemployment rate as Kempsey in 2011 (about 11 per cent).
So what about the bad?
While 32 per cent of Kempsey's businesses had closed or changed owners between 2013-17, the culprit was not what people would think.
"None of the 24 businesses had closed as a result of the bypass or any continuing negative effects of the bypass- personal, management and lifestyle decisions were the main reasons for closure," the report said.
In face the report said it was key for businesses to shift with the times in order to thrive.
"Significant adjustments to business operations were made... foremost among these had been to embrace social media and internet technology for marketing and sales."
The vast majority of new businesses which started were relied on social media.
Council's key role
AN INVESTMENT in the main street and highway job creation are two key areas Gympie Regional Council will have to deliver on to ensure the city thrives in the post-bypass era.
According to Dr Parolin's report Kempsey Shire Council's post-bypass focus centred on several areas including "an emphasis on attracting new retailers to Kempesy's main street, and attracting tourists through social, sporting and cultural events".
"The perceived opportunities for council focus primarily on the need for economic growth through encouragement of younger entrepreneurs, developing a transport interchange for Kempsey and other forms of event based tourism," the report said.
Investment was also made in streetscaping with mostly positive effects.
A more attractive shopping precinct and better parking were said to be good, while the bad was the length of construction, perceived lack of consultation from the council and loss of parking.
And the there seemed to be little direct impact with only 18.5 per cent of businesses reporting a positive or negative effect.