Tauranga businesses bristling at road block hassle

Durham St businesses are feeling the effects of the long-term road closure Photo: Bruce Barnard.

Retailers on Durham St in Tauranga’s CBD are losing patience with the road closure affecting access to their premises.

One lane of the street is closed between the Elizabeth St roundabout and Spring St to allow work to progress in the City Council project to upgrade the area, coinciding with the construction of the University of Waikato’s Tauranga campus.

Stage One of the revamp is currently underway, which involves upgrading Durham St and Durham Lane to create a modern, inviting space for everyone including new students coming to the city, the council says.

The upgrade will take about 12 months, says council project manager Jenny Hill.

“It’s an exciting project that will be well worth the effort, along with the university due to open in February 2019, which will bring considerably more foot traffic along Durham Street.”

In the meantime, however, businesses have started feeling the pinch due to the ongoing disruption, a representative of one of the retailers told SunLive.

“There a few businesses down here in Durham St which have started struggling because of the loss of traffic,” says the man, who wanted to be known as Joe.

The road closure makes it difficult for customers and staff to reach the business premises, and times when access is closed completely, he says.

“It’s one lane in, no way out, and they usually close the other end too as they carry out works and then they just open it up as they please.”

Businesses affected include Smiths Motorcycles, Beaurepaires, Eastern HiFi, Gengy’s Mongolian Restaurant, and The Rock Shop.

They are getting little sympathy from enforcement authorities and contractors involved in the work, Joe says.

“These people are not very nice to us. We ask for them to give us some access to our place and all we get is abuse.

“This morning I come to work and a lady pulls me up and she’s threatening me with a $250 fine coming down the street. But honestly, what can I do, you know? How can I get to work? Are they going to reimburse me for the loss of time?

“If I stayed there with them it was starting to escalate so I just turned around and walked off before it gets too ugly, you know?”

However, Jenny says Tauranga City Council want to know if staff or customers are unhappy with their treatment.

“If anyone encounters unprofessional behaviour from contractors we would ask them to let us know so that it can be addressed,” she says.

Joe believes there is no need for the road to be closed in the vicinity of their premises.

“We asked them to move the road closure back because from our point of view it’s pointless being 200m off the worksite, and then we would be all right. They did it for a day but then they put it back where it was.”

They’ve been unable to get a satisfactory response to their concerns, Joe says.

“We’ve tried the council, we’ve tried everyone else.”

Jenny says the council are doing their best for the Durham St retailers.

“In every construction project the council works with residents and business owners to maintain access to their premises.”

She says council are open to looking into assisting the businesses during the construction period.

“We will be working with businesses to find the most appropriate way that Council can provide support.”


9 Comments

Chaos

Posted on 31-07-2018 09:08 | By Lvdw

Yes, it definitely is chaos. As a CBD worker I seldom even bother going out on weekdays because yes, it is chaotic. In my opinion once again council have their heads up their rear ends. Yes, it probably seemed like a great idea to have multiple, very disruptive projected going on in the CBD at the same time (not). Yet another reason for everyone staying away from the city. I honestly feel sorry for business owners and good luck to the council, trying to fill the many empty shops when this fiasco is finally over. The only winners here are the contractors doing the work. Seriously. What is wrong with TCC??

businesses

Posted on 30-07-2018 18:54 | By CC8

These businesses are largely unwanted in this area ...The council "planners" have lofty ideas about what sort of businesses "look" right in the picture perfect recesses of their tiny "educated" minds.They have after all been to University, so they know everything .. The CBD is dead anyway, killed by the council parking wolves.

@tgacentral

Posted on 27-07-2018 12:35 | By The Sage

Spoken like a true Bureaucrat. Some of these businesses may not survive until next year. Anyone who says short term pain for long term gain is totally out of touch and obviously never owned their own business.

@tgacentral

Posted on 27-07-2018 12:03 | By Accountable

These poor business people won’t have enough money in the bank to survive without their usual customer cash flow for another twelve months. Realistically they are on the slippery road to bankrupcy under their present trading circumstances. Its like Council denying you access to your home for the next two years and you having to pay double the costs to live elsewhere. Unless the Council can encourage more shoppers into the CBD through sensible parking incentives the future is extremely bleak for those who have to trade under these conditions. Have a think before you print.

Short term pain for long term gain

Posted on 27-07-2018 11:11 | By tgacentral

Unfortunately development will bring disruption but these shop owners are looking at a massive increase in foot traffic past their shops from next year so for the sake of some temporary disruption they will be much better off. @tabatha the whole point of the Durham Street upgrade is to put the focus on people with a better space for pedestrians, bikes, cars etc. Some people will take any excuse to complain but the amount of disruption in the cbd is all related to new development so it will be exciting to see how things look in a years time!

Shambles

Posted on 27-07-2018 09:37 | By Accountable

This same problem is affecting the retail businesses throughout the CBD with the closures or part closures of Durham, Spring, The Strand, Hamilton, Harington and the rediculous street closures for events. Why close two streets completly to build a car parking building? What will happen when the Farmers and the former Westpac building starts? The CBD will be in lock down and we are not getting any support from Council or our Mainstreet organisation. We are being told to suck it up and look at the bigger picture by the Mainstreet board chairman but he’s not the one who has to continue to pay the rents and staff while the streets are empty of customers. Councillor Balldock has the same attitude and to hell with the business people because in five years time we will all reap the benifits but no doubt that will depend on your present financial curcumstance

Tauranga City Council Lack of thought

Posted on 27-07-2018 08:58 | By tabatha

They expect people to use the CBD, but do not stop to think businesses and people make the CBD not buildings on their own.

Coned?

Posted on 27-07-2018 08:34 | By peecee09

What about the corner of the Strand and Harrington St, there has been a detour there for weeks! What on earth are they doing as there is very little action apparent.Ridiculous.

Shambolic

Posted on 27-07-2018 08:16 | By The Sage

So sorry for the business ownesr. This Durham Street debacle has been going on for several years, since they started building the new Trustpower premises. Business owners should invoice the Council for the drop in revenue to their business, along with loss of revenue for the future as many of the affected customers will not go back.

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