CRL caus­ing headaches for busi­nesses

Central Leader - - WHAT’S ON - HE­LEN KING

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 bur­don 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.’’

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 in 2019.

‘‘We’re just keep­ing our heads able for busi­nessess which felt they had been im­pacted but Green­smith was un­clear on what could be claimed.

She said if they could show a di­rect cor­re­la­tion with the project, or some­thing neg­li­gent that af­fected their busi­ness, a claim could be made.

JASON DORDAY/FAIRFAX NZ

The Shake­speare Pub owner Nick McIn­tyre says it missed the cruise ship sea­son be­cause of con­struc­tion on Al­bert Street.

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