Boss not lovin’ it
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.