Owners of a Northbourne Avenue hotel and restaurant have warned local businesses will lose customers and could even fail because of construction of the light rail line.
In a submission to the National Capital Authority's works approval public consultation about the city to Gungahlin tram line, Capital Executive Apartment Hotel managing director and part owner Jim Stanwell said compensation from the ACT government could be required if businesses lose customers.
Construction is due to start this year, with tram services expected to begin in 2019.
The submission says the cost and inconvenience created by construction of the 12 kilometre route will not create sufficient benefit to the community or businesses, including the Haig Italian Restaurant, owned by Robert Oliver. It says construction will disrupt traffic for significant periods of time and "there is severe lack of concise information about how businesses will be directly affected."
Compensation should be considered because of "traffic congestion, dust, noise and loss of amenity", including for guests staying in the hotel. Businesses that are currently viable will be disadvantaged because of "significant bias" created by light rail.
Light rail may cause "a significant downturn in business", the submission said. "We believe that the onus is on the ACT government to ensure that lost income from the detrimental impact of the light rail should be compensated through a scheme set up before approval is given to the works application."
The submission questions the wisdom of building the $698 million tram in the age of self-driving cars and rapid changes in transport technology. It says Canberrans generally dislike buses and calls for a full review of the cost of trams.
Mr Stanwell said plans to include nighttime works in construction couldn't reduce the impact on his business. He estimated walk-in traffic was worth 15 to 20 per cent of total patronage and online bookings could also be reduced.
"When they widened Northbourne Avenue, they did the work at night," he said.
"During the day my hotel is empty, and during the night it is full of people. They have dinner, they watch TV, they go to bed and they sleep. The disruption, the damage and the carry on because people want their money back because they couldn't get any sleep will be too much."
"Once they get approval they can do whatever they want."
He said businesses and private consultants had struggled to get adequate information about when construction would arrive on Northbourne Avenue.
The National Capital Authority's process is separate to ACT government development application processes and is considering light rail tracks and stops, lighting, landscaping, tree removal, road works and site works.
"All of the hotels on Northbourne are going to be hit by this, plus their restaurants. We're all in the same boats and restaurant tenants will be unable to pay their rent."
The month-long public consultation period runs until March 18, before the National Capital Authority's board considers findings at a meeting on April 14.
Last week, owners of three bed and breakfast businesses on Northbourne Avenue, Downer said they face serious economic loss from planned service road closures connected with the light rail project.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said construction would take three years. The Canberra Metro Consortium says construction will be finished in late 2018 and tram services will begin in early 2019.