Re­tail­ers seek cover for CBD

Win­ter weather hits shop­ping num­bers

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.

Photo: KRIS DANDO

Re­tailer Billi Ku­mar says some cover over the CBD would be ap­pre­ci­ated by shop-own­ers.

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