Retailers seek cover for CBD
Winter weather hits shopping numbers
Porirua CBD retailers are calling for some cover in the city centre, with winter weather having set in.
After a period of rain and wind – highlighted by the May 14 flood, which greatly affected the Cobham Court area – retailers have reiterated their desire for the city centre to offer some protection from the elements for the public.
That is despite a spell of brilliant weather earlier this year, when crowds flocked to the CBD for ping pong, barbecues, entertainment and activities.
When Kapi-Mana News spoke to retailers in November, there was a general feeling of pessimism about how their trade might be affected when the weather turned foul. The recent rain has cemented that feeling.
Porirua City Council announced in April that half- replacement canopies and transparent panels were now an option.
A decision will be made as part of the council’s long-term plan deliberations.
Costs range from full replacement of the canopies ($ 2.49 million), full replacement with transparent panels ($ 3.192m), and covering just the Serlby Place part of the CBD ($2.1m to $2.5m).
Billi Kumar, owner of Billi’s Shoetique & Boutique, said that when the weather turned from sun to rain, customers were hard to come by.
‘‘ My sales are already going down. In the winter it will be much worse,’’ he said.
He thought partial cover of the CBD would at least offer the public some respite from the rain.
Julie Leu’u, from Le Aute, said foot traffic was already down and believed it would continue to fall.
‘‘Even when it’s hot, some cover will be appreciated by people,’’ she said.
However, having no cover did keep young people from loitering in the CBD, she said.
Sam Korad, who owns a hair salon, said her bookings had dropped off and appointments were cancelled if the weather is bad.
Express Card Shop owner Mohan Hira said the city centre upgrade plans were the shot in the arm Porirua needed.
A full replacement of the canopies wasn’t needed, but partial cover down Serlby Place would be welcomed by retailers, he said.
Porirua City Council will adopt its long-term plan this month, but councillors have already deferred making a decision on whether to cover the CBD till a later date.
Retailer Billi Kumar says some cover over the CBD would be appreciated by shop-owners.