‘A waste of money and too much talking’
Trevor Campbell rolls his eyes when the words ‘‘ Porirua City centre’’ and ‘‘ Canopies’’ are mentioned.
The straight-talking owner of McDonald’s Porirua since 1991, Campbell was for some years involved in working groups and committees overseeing the upgrade of the CBD.
As the chairman of the nowdefunct retailers lobby group Canopy Connection and former board member of the Porirua Chamber of Commerce, he has heard plenty of talk about revitalising the city centre.
‘‘Any discussion about the Canopies and whether them coming down is good for the area has to be put in context,’’ he said.
‘‘The starting point is what do we want from our city centre, because it’s a powerful area.
‘‘Porirua’s CBD has been run down to a point where only twodollar shops will go in there. That speaks volumes.
‘‘ If McDonald’s, Toyworld, Whitcoulls and The Windmill are gone, what does that say?’’
Campbell said discussion and framework plans for the city centre in 2001, 2009 and 2012 had achieved nothing but earn consultants ratepayers’ money.
A report from urban planning guru Kobus Mentz more than 10 years ago gave insights into how best the space could be used, he said, but that report was gathering dust somewhere.
‘‘When you talk about a city you look at demographics, housing, health and social needs, and entertainment.
‘‘Porirua was designed and built from scratch in the 1960s and it’s a concrete block structure with little architectural significance.
‘‘The Kobus report drilled down into these things and looked at the future of retail, office space and many other things.’’
Campbell said Porirua City Council knew the Canopies had a 20-year life when they were put up in 1995, but a lack of forward planning had left the council in a predicament.
The Canopies will be removed this month, with retailers in the CBD afraid of what it means for their businesses.
He said it would be a sad day when the fabric was removed, symptomatic of the attitude the council had towards the city centre.
‘‘ The situation is appalling,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘I don’t think people would have minded paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in rates if there was some direction for the CBD.
‘‘After all these years and we have a strip of astroturf in front of the iSite!
‘‘There is a distinct lack of fore- sight and detail and questions need to be asked of the city’s leaders. I’m disappointed for the landowners and building owners over there.’’
Campbell said removal of the verandas when the Canopies were put up would leave the area exposed to the elements.
He said moving the McDonald’s store from the corner of Cobham Court to Kenepuru Dr in 2009 was a positive move for his business, and he is glad to be out of the CBD.
Frustrated: Porirua McDonald’s owner Trevor Campbell.