Christchurch City Council to probe how to address businesses hit by roadworks

Posted 26 Jun 2017 by MediaThePress Popular

Christchurch businesses hit hard by constant roadworks could get help from the council, with one councillor suggesting rates rebates.

Roadworks dogged Stuart Winter's Laneway Espresso on Durham St, pictured, for months.
STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ

Roadworks dogged Stuart Winter's Laneway Espresso on Durham St, pictured, for months.

 

Christchurch businesses hit hard by constant roadworks could get help from the council, with one councillor suggesting rates rebates.

Roadworks as part of the joint Christchurch City Council-Crown Accessible City project have caused widespread discontent among central-city business owners.

The city council is redoing work on St Asaph St and Otakaro is reviewing its designs after the Crown-owned company had its Accessible City funding cut for more than a month.

Central city councillor Deon Swiggs says relief for businesses could come in the form of rates rebates.
STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX

Central city councillor Deon Swiggs says relief for businesses could come in the form of rates rebates.

 

Now councillors have asked staff to report back on how businesses "unreasonably adversely impacted" by the roadworks "could be addressed".

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Christchurch politicians concur: An Accessible City plan should change

City councillor Deon Swiggs​ said the construction of cycleways and work along Durham and Manchester streets, which is being completed by Otakaro, created problems for businesses.

"I'd love to see something come out of this report that … actually gives, if this ever happens again, some surety that the city cares about our business people."

Surety, Swiggs said, could come in the form of a rates rebate or procurement policies.

"I just have no idea exactly how it will work, but the bottom line is we do need to sort this out.

"It's not an insignificant amount of money that a business owner pays (in) rates as well as the rates of where they live."

Some business owners in Swiggs's central ward were "screaming out for help because they've been so hurt by the time that it's taken to do some of the works".

"I have a lot of businesses that are affected by different elements; I have all the tourism kind of stuff, residents and people coming into the city to work," he said.

"A few of them have said 'Look I just can't pay my rates', or 'I'm struggling to pay my wages' and a couple have asked specifically if there was anything to do with a rates rebate.

"The answer from the council I've had has been 'No, there's not really any provision in our rates rebate scheme for businesses affected in this way', so I said 'Well, maybe we need to look at that'."

He tried to have the staff report include Otakaro works at the council's annual plan deliberations last week.

"I think it's part of our responsibility.

"I think we really need to take a good look at this and be a bit bold."

Laneway Espresso owner Stuart Winter, who put up with Otakaro works outside his business, believed some kind of compensation would be "beneficial", but struggled to see how it would work.

"You look at your turnover and if it's dropped … then they could look to reimburse through a waive of rates," he said.

"I just don't see how they can measure it because it's sort of beyond just the turnover thing, like it can have bigger effects than that.

"I'm all for it, but I just struggle to see how they will implement it and continue it."

But Winter said there was "without a doubt" an appetite among city business owners for some sort of reimbursement.

"It is so difficult at the moment and it's always going to be difficult for a small business to survive and grow in any climate, but especially at the moment."

City councillors also resolved to have staff report back on council road-work processes.

 - Stuff

This article was sourced from another website - view the original article.

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