20 Feb 2017

Chch cycleways disastrous for St Albans business

9:00 am on 20 February 2017

A Christchurch business owner says a multi-million dollar cycleway project is disastrous for his St Albans store.

On the Spot convenience store owner Jackson Zhang.

On the Spot convenience store owner Jackson Zhang. Photo: RNZ / Logan Church

The Christchurch City Council has invested $156 million in 13 cycleways across the city, to encourage cycling as a form of transport.

Work on the Rutland Street portion of the Papanui Parallel cycleway started two weeks ago, limiting access to businesses along the street.

The finished cycleway will reduce parking to parallel parks on only one side of the street.

The owner of On The Spot convenience store, Jackson Zhang, said since work started in front of his shop two weeks ago, he has often turned over only 10 percent of what he usually did each day.

Mr Zhang said this was not even enough to cover basic expenses.

"I just feel so disappointed", said Mr Zhang.

Roadworks in front of Jackson Zhang's convenience store.

Roadworks in front of Jackson Zhang's convenience store. Photo: RNZ / Logan Church

One day Mr Zhang stood for 14 hours in his shop with not a single customer.

"It's not enough money to pay the power, rates, insurance and other costs."

Mr Zhang has attended several meetings with representatives from the city council, but feels his views haven't been listened to.

"They have never listened to our opinions", said Mr Zhang.

"They have spent millions of dollars on the cycleways, they should rebuild the CBD or New Brighton first."

The work is set to continue in front of Mr Zhang's store until May.

Roadworks have limited parking options for customers.

Roadworks have limited parking options for customers. Photo: RNZ / Logan Church

A nearby resident, Lachy Cabell, said he hoped the construction could be completed quickly.

"All the business parking is now down our street ... it's pretty frustrating," said Mr Cabell.

Mr Cabell said the lack of car parks was a problem.

"I wish it was getting completed ... it's pretty congested," said Mr Cabell.

The Christchurch City Council Transport operations manager, Aaron Haymes, said there had been a lot of opportunities for business owners and residents to make their views heard.

"We have an open door and if there are any impacts on individual businesses, and there are things they think we can be doing better, we are certainly open to having a conversation," said Mr Haymes.

However Mr Haymes said it was a balancing act.

"Sometimes we can provide more parking and access but it means the contract work can take longer," said Mr Haymes.

Mr Haymes said businesses could call the customer service number at the city council if they had a complaint or question.

Shops have been affected by the construction.

Shops have been affected by the construction. Photo: RNZ / Logan Church

Mr Haymes said he hadn't heard of any complaints from businesses on Rutland Street, but was happy to go and visit those businesses in person if they had any concerns.

But Mr Haymes said the cycleways project was beneficial for the city as a whole.

"We have a culture of driving the car into the town ... and that isn't sustainable for the future - we are keen to make sure there is a diverse range of options for transport in the city."

Mr Haymes said they were delivering an outcome that the people of Christchurch wanted.

Christchurch Central Labour Party candidate and former lawyer, Duncan Webb, said there was little business owners could do.

"There is an obligation to consult with people affected ... but [the council] don't have to do what the majority of people want," said Dr Webb.

Access to shops on Rutland Street has been limited due to the roadworks.

Access to shops on Rutland Street has been limited due to the roadworks. Photo: RNZ / Logan Church

The Papanui Parallel cycleway received 656 submissions, with 270 supporting the project and 269 opposed.

Dr Webb said the council were elected officials and could do what they thought was best for the city.

"If the people of Christchurch don't like it they ultimately get a chance to say that every three years," said Dr Webb.

"It might look like it's undemocratic, it might look like people's views are taken into account but ultimately it's the elections when you elect your officials."

Dr Webb said the council may pay the price next election if they have made the wrong decision.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs