Despite Auckland Transport working with One Warkworth Business Association to stage the project and keep the road open at all times, most traders have still suffered.
AGA Turkish Cuisine shut up shop while works took place at the lower end of Neville Street.
The Neville Street Pavement Rehabilitation Project in Warkworth is set to finish on time and under budget, but most surrounding businesses have suffered significant financial losses during works. The project had a forecasted cost of $1 million and will be complete in mid-August. An Auckland Transport (AT) spokesperson says the original finish date was in June, but changed after One Warkworth Business Association negotiated a staged approach to the project to favour businesses. Despite this, sales have dropped by around a third for many and some believe they are entitled to compensation from Council. An AT spokesperson says they have received some complaints, but also compliments on the efficiency of work and the traffic management, and will not be providing any compensation. Mahurangi Matters spoke with Neville Street businesses about the impacts of the project on trading.
Levin Huang, outgoing store owner
It’s been really hard for us and we saw about a 30 per cent drop in sales during the work period. Once construction moved further down the road, business began to improve again. The main issue was that parking was reduced, and people didn’t want to walk further in winter weather to the store. I think they could have reduced the trouble caused by the works if they were to operate at night and at weekends.
Aditya Suther, store manager
We’ve faced about a 30 per cent drop in sales during the work period so far. A number of customers have complained to us about the difficulty of parking and the constant change in road layout. I think they should have let people know via social media which way traffic would be able to move each day. It’s also affected our delivery people who at times have to carry 30 pizza boxes quite far, through wet conditions, because they can’t get a park close by.
Lisa Bates, restaurant owner
The roadworks were inevitable, so we don’t have a problem with that. We moved to Warkworth because of the growth in this area, and you can’t have an omelette without cracking an egg. We would have liked to be better informed though, so we could have made plans around opening during the work period. AT could have also put an ad in the paper promoting the Neville Street businesses as support. In terms of sales, it’s our first year so we have nothing to compare with.
Alice Baluyut, staff member
The works are certainly disruptive. Some machinery makes the whole store shake and we have to close the door as the noise is so loud. That, combined with a lack of parking, has definitely meant less people coming into the shop. However, it’s understandable that the work needs to be done.
Kim Seoung Kyoung, store owner
Parking has definitely been the biggest problem for me, as people don’t want to walk very far with lots of washing. I have to close the door often with the noise as well. Because of these things there has been a small drop in business since work started.
Seafood N’ Eat It
Kamal Parjapat, store owner
Business is down 80 per cent for us, and I doubt we will make any profit during the three month work period. Our expenses haven’t dropped at all, but our customer numbers have hugely. I would like some compensation from Council and a refund on income tax, but we won’t get either.
Kristell Boisseau, café owner
The works have only recently reached our part of the street, but I would expect a 20 per cent drop in sales as that was the loss last year when Oaks workers blocked the parking. I’m advising staff to take holidays if it suits over this period as we won’t need everyone. Our regulars still come in, but we lose the impulse buyers, especially when they are forced on to the other side of the road. I also usually get a boost in profit over the school holiday period, but I think works will nullify that, unfortunately, this year.
Aga Turkish Cuisine
Rodi Freo, store owner
Sales are down 50 per cent here and I know a number of my customers are going to the Grange because it’s easier to access. I have multiple occasions where people cancel orders because they can’t find a park close by. I’m cleaning the windows every day because of dust from the works. It comes into the store, which is not good in a hospitality business, but if I close the door people think we are not open. I would like a refund on my outdoor dining licence for the work period, which costs me $440 each year. No one is going to sit outside and eat during construction.
Roger Dunn, director
It’s a job needing to be done so we will just be happy to have it behind us. The contractor’s staff have been very pleasant to deal with during works and have always allowed us to keep one of our two access points open to use. We have had a small drop in customers, but we just have to grit our teeth and get through this period.