Boss not lovin’ it

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

His busi­ness has achieved a na­tional mile­stone, but Trevor Camp­bell hardly no­ticed – he’s fo­cused on im­prov­ing the fu­ture of in­ner-city Porirua.

Porirua McDon­ald’s restau­rant cel­e­brated 35 years in busi­ness last week, the first in New Zealand.

Mr Camp­bell, 48, has owned the fran­chise for 20 years. He has worked for McDon­ald’s since the 1970s, first flip­ping burg­ers as a Hutt Val­ley High School stu­dent, then work­ing in the burger chain’s cor­po­rate team.

In 1991, sick of trav­el­ling away from his fam­ily for work, he bought Porirua McDon­ald’s.

‘‘I didn’t want to be liv­ing out of ho­tels and suit­cases.’’

Two years ago he moved the restau­rant out of the ‘‘canopies’’ area, and does not mince words about his opin­ion of Porirua’s re­tail heart: ‘‘This area is a hole.’’ As chair­man of the Canopy Con­nec­tion, Mr Camp­bell is lead­ing the call to re­vi­talise the city cen­tre.

Canopy Con­nec­tion, a lobby group made up of 140 busi­nesses un­der the canopies, is work­ing with Porirua City Coun­cil to im­prove the space.

They want to turn the Cob­ham Court car park into a green space, build bet­ter ac­cess roads and in­crease of­fice space in the area.

The first blow to the area’s re­tail­ers was when North City mall was built in 1992, Mr Camp­bell says.

The canopies were built as a re­sponse to the mall, and re­tail­ers con­trib­uted half the $4 mil­lion cost of erect­ing them.

But the area has be­come run down, and re­cently re­tail­ers com­mis­sioned a re­port on how to re­vi­talise cen­tral Porirua.

A key rec­om­men­da­tion is dou­bling the city’s of­fice space to stop the daily com­muter flow to­wards Welling­ton.

Two-thirds of Porirua’s work­force have jobs out­side the city, Mr Camp­bell says.

‘‘For the city to sur­vive, we have to get more peo­ple work­ing here.’’

Porirua was built for a pop­u­la­tion of 40,000, and ur­gently needs res­i­dents, busi­nesses and the coun­cil to con­sider for its cur­rent and fu­ture pop­u­la­tion.

‘‘How do we ac­tu­ally change the na­ture of the city and its use?’’ Mr Camp­bell asks.

‘‘You start with who the pop­u­la­tion is, their needs.’’

Big­ger fish to fry: Porirua McDon­ald’s fran­chise owner Trevor Camp­bell wants to fu­ture-proof the CBD, start­ing by de­mol­ish­ing the canopies and build­ing more of­fice space.

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