Shop­keep­ers angry at Canopies de­lay

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

‘‘I have to pray for the sun ev­ery day be­cause next win­ter my store will re­ally suf­fer,’’ says Billi Kumar.

To say Mr Kumar, owner of Billi’s Shoe­tique & Bou­tique, in Porirua’s CBD, is not look­ing for­ward to the Canopies com­ing down in Jan­uary is an un­der­state­ment.

He and other business own­ers in the city cen­tre re­ceived no­tices re­cently, in­form­ing them of Porirua City Coun­cil’s plans for the dis­tinc­tive cov­er­ings, which were erected in 1995.

A re­port in July said the Canopies were in dan­ger of rip­ping in high winds and Porirua City coun­cil­lors agreed in Au­gust to dis­man­tle them.

They will be re­moved over a four-week pe­riod in early 2015.

De­signs and cost­ings for re­place­ments are be­ing eval­u­ated. New cov­er­ings could cost up to $ 3 mil­lion and re­plac­ing them would take some months, city cen­tre com­mit­tee chair­man Euon Mur­rell said.

That’s not good enough for Kumar, who is adamant cov­er­ings will not be in place un­til 2016.

‘‘Peo­ple are not com­ing into the CBD now. Imag­ine what it will be like when it’s rain­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘The city cen­tre will die and my sales will go down. Ev­ery­one will go into the mall.’’

Kumar said the coun­cil needed to re­place the Canopies straight after their re­moval, a sen­ti­ment shared by the owner of Tay­lor’s Dryclean­ers, Steve Blitz.

‘‘ Not hav­ing cover is re­ally go­ing to af­fect us, es­pe­cially

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