CRL a headache for local businesses
Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL) is projected to finish in 2019 but local businesses fear they will be forced to shut their doors before they can reap the benefits of the upgraded area.
Fourteen businesses on Albert Street in the CBD, where the construction is taking place, have complained to Auckland Transport (AT) about the impact of the project.
Only four met the strict criteria to proceed to a claim.
Touted as the city’s most transformational project in the next decade, the extension of the existing rail network was meant to help ease the burden on an already strained public transport system.
A walk down the once bustling Albert Street had become a maze of barriers, diggers, and the sound of jack hammers pounding the ground.
Nick McIntyre ran the historic Shakespeare Tavern.
He stood on the balcony of the iconic Auckland pub which looked down onto the epicentre of the construction site.
‘‘This used to be a draw card for us, now look at it. Who wants to put up with that when they’re eating a meal?
‘‘We’ve experienced at least a 20 per cent downturn in profit from last year.’’
Further down the road toward Quay Street, Convenience Store owner Luay Toufik also struggled.
He had been open for two years but wasn’t sure if he would still be operating in 12 months.
‘‘The IRD told me I’ll have to close if I have another year like the one I just had. It’s tough.’’
One of the problems for businesses like Toufik’s was that Albert Street was no longer on the bus route.
Across the road UP cafe owner Aaron Paul said they weren’t sure if they would still be open when the CRL was meant to be finished.
‘‘We’re just keeping our heads above water at the moment.’’
AT rejected any sort of compensation package for businesses or a reduction in rent.
Spokesperson Carol Greensmith said there was extensive consultation with business owners prior to the project.
The claim process was avail- able for businessess to go through if they felt they had been impacted but Greensmith was unclear on what could be claimed.
She said if they could show a direct correlation with this project, or something negligent that affected their business a claim could be made.