Shopkeepers angry at Canopies delay
‘‘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