May­oral can­di­dates get grilled

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

‘‘Some land­lords pre­fer to have empty shops than think out­side the square.’’

Se­nior cit­i­zens grilled Cen­tral Otago’s three may­oral can­di­dates about every­thing from build­ing con­sents and wa­ter to rates, road­ing and jobs at their first pub­lic face-off.

About 100 peo­ple turned out to the Grey Power-hosted de­bate in Alexan­dra on Wed­nes­day to hear can­di­dates - in­cum­bent mayor Tony Lep­per, dis­trict coun­cil­lor Martin McPher­son and lawyer Tim Cado­gan.

A new res­i­dent to Alexan­dra raised is­sue with the de­cline of busi­ness in the Alexan­dra’s town cen­tre with empty build­ings and dusty shop win­dows.

‘‘I re­alise coun­cil’s core busi­ness is rub­bish, roads and rates but I’d like to ask if you guys see that as a prob­lem. I un­der­stand ab­sen­tee land­lords have con­trol of a lot of the prop­er­ties in Cromwell and also Alexan­dra.’’

McPher­son said he would like to lock land­lords into a room and ‘‘bang their heads to­gether’’.

‘‘I’m tired of peo­ple who have empty shops and don’t even clean the win­dows and com­plain to me as a coun­cil­lor it is some­how my fault that he can’t get a ten­ant. When they had a $124,000 in­vest­ment in a prop­erty in 1982 and they are still ex­pect­ing a nine per cent re­turn on it in 2016...well sorry, don’t be so bloody greedy.’’

There were good land­lords, in­clud­ing a man who made a ma­jor in­vest­ment and de­vel­oped a block down Cen­ten­nial Av­enue and was of­fer­ing re­tail space on a week-by-week ba­sis and dropped rent down.

‘‘He’s not got an empty shop. Some land­lords pre­fer to have empty shops than think out­side the square,’’ McPher­son said.

Cado­gan said ab­sen­tee land­lords were not nec­es­sar­ily the prob­lem - on­line shop­ping was a prob­lem for com­mu­ni­ties world­wide. He wanted to see ‘‘pop-up fash­ion shops’’ in down­town Alexan­dra where the likes of the Eden Hore fash­ion col­lec­tion could be dis­played.

‘‘Some­thing could go in for a month. You aren’t go­ing to get the long-term leasees. Those are the sorts of things that need to be hap­pen­ing and the mayor should be en­cour­ag­ing that.’’

Lep­per said re­tail was a hard gig to be in cur­rently, and down-

town cen­tres through­out the world were emp­ty­ing out.

‘‘We are al­ways look­ing for ideas. One of those is love notes. You put some­thing in there for a wee while just to fill up the space.’’

When asked if coun­cil was go­ing to pro­vide more em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties Lep­per said, ‘‘Not ev­ery­one will agree it is coun­cil’s job to find jobs...how you do that is some sil­ver bul­let that has never in­vented.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.