Businesses suffer as town gets upgrade
Disruptions caused by Mt Albert road works are hitting businesses in the pocket – with one losing 70 per cent of daily turnover.
Mt Albert’s $6.5 million town centre upgrade will feature wider footpaths, better lighting, cycle lanes and more bus shelters.
But businesses are struggling, with construction affecting parking and noise and dust deterring customers.
Albert-Eden Local Board chairman Peter Haynes said the Mt Albert town centre was run down and, with the prospect of St Lukes mall doubling in size, the upgrade was urgent.
‘‘Small changes won’t make the difference needed - major transformational change is the only option,’’ Haynes said.
Manwar Kam, whose family runs the Mt Albert BBQ Noodle House, said the business would not survive another eight months in these conditions.
Kam said its daily turnover had dropped by 70 per cent.
‘‘Most of our customers order takeaway - if they are unable to park easily, they do not bother coming.’’
Kam said his parents were frustrated at the slow pace of construction.
‘‘For more than two weeks we saw no workers and now the workers turn up at 7am and do not do anything but move cones and clean the tractor windscreen,’’ he said.
Mt Albert Village Business Association co-chair Kev Carter said from June 28 to July 12 road works stopped as Watercare repaired a water mains but work was back on track.
Manager of Boston Bakery Steve Chea said if the project did not speed up the bakery would not survive - but the spirit of the community gave him hope.
Residents have started a campaign, where they share their experience of shopping local on social media - encouraging others to do the same.
The campaign had been helpful, Chea said.
For example, Gladstone Primary School had changed its supplier and started purchasing food from the Boston Bakery.
Chea said the completed project would look nice but he was concerned about the permanent loss of parking spaces.
‘‘We had 11 car spaces but when the project is completed we will only have seven,’’ he said.
Haynes said the upgrade would remove a total of 38 carparks.
The upgrade was expected to be completed by February.