‘A waste of money and too much talk­ing’

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

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.

Photo: KRIS DANDO

Frus­trated: Porirua McDon­ald’s owner Trevor Camp­bell.

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