A south-west councillor labelled a water corporation "arrogant" and "pig-headed" at a public meeting, alleging it failed to strike a balance with traders to keep a street open during important works.
But Wannon Water managing director Andrew Jeffers said a part closure of Koroit's main street during water main replacement works had been the "safest option" for road users, pedestrians and contractors.
The work is part of a plan to provide safe drinking water with the existing pipes old and in need of replacement to ensure they remain reliable.
Moyne Shire Cr Jim Doukas said business owners he had spoken with felt the water corporation "just don't listen" to concerns about the impact of the work on trade and traffic.
"They would have to be the most arrogant or pig-headed authority I have ever come across," Cr Doukas said during Tuesday's council meeting.
Cr Doukas made the comments during a general business section of the meeting. Asked to clarify the comments afterwards he said traders "just wanted to be treated better, if traffic management was done better they could still operate".
Koroit Newsagency co-owner Robyn Polkinghorne saw about a 20 per cent drop in trade during the works.
She had pushed for temporary traffic lights to be installed during the works rather than the partial road closure but were told expense and safety were issues.
"What I find increasingly frustrating is that VicRoads is doing work there now, and they have traffic controllers," Ms Polkinghorne said.
"I don't understand how we couldn't have done it that way to begin with, it would have come at a lot less cost to business in Koroit."
Mr Jeffers said Wannon Water recognised the work had affected businesses.
"Prior to the start of the project, we doorknocked traders to discuss any concerns," he said.
"Our contractors have continued to work with them throughout the project to allow for deliveries and facilitate access to properties and we've had some great feedback for the way in which we've managed this."
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