Business owners knew to expect impacts to their business resulting from roadworks on the Champion Road-Salisbury Road roundabout, but the degree of the initial impacts have been more severe than expected.
“Local businesses are being impacted financially and I can’t imagine what things are going to be like once schools go back,” says Moxini’s owner Wayne Boote.
Only a week into the major roadworks on the roundabout and two businesses, Raewards Fresh and Zinc Café BBQ & Heating find there profits are down by 30-40%. This amounts to thousands of dollars for Raewards.
It’s not only the bottom line affected. Staffing numbers and hours have had to be adjusted to meet the downturn in customers.
Confusion on how to navigate through the dug-up roads to the businesses and the associated lack of convenience have been keeping customers away.
“Signage has not been adequate, but they have been working on improving it,” says Wayne.
In a meeting last Friday, the Council approved more signage to be added in places with greater visibility for customers.
The roundabout straddles the boundaries of both the Nelson City and Tasman District Councils with the current roadworks being project managed by Graham Rimmer of the TDC.
The business owners have raised concerns regarding the impact on their business, seeking assistance through rate relief, but this was declined.
“Compensations aren’t paid out to businesses by Councils for any infrastructure projects,” says TDC’s acting engineering services manager, Dwyane Fletcher. “It’s part and parcel of a growing community with the long term gains the benefit for the whole community.”
The project’s forecast for completion is July with businesses concerned it’ll drag out longer. Graham Rimmer says there is a definite July completion date for the project.
“The key for us would be having it done as fast as possible,” says Raewards Fresh owner, Laura Caldwell.
The tender for the roadworks being undertaken by Fulton Hogan doesn’t allow for night or weekend work, added Laura’s husband Gareth Caldwell.
“Projects never have budgeting for night or weekend work because of the associated cost,” says Graham.
Consultation by TDC has been a disappointment according to business owners, Wayne saying that Fulton Hogan had already been given the tender before the TDC approached them.
Graham says the Council has had face-to-face meetings with the businesses and continues to send newsletters, adding that the contract with Fulton Hogan’s includes direct liaison with the businesses.
Most of the business owners voiced their appreciation of the Fulton Hogan project manager.
“The shops are definitely open for business and we encourage customers to keep using them,” says Graham.