Months of road closures on Wainui Road are causing frustration for business owners as customers turn away.
The section between 29–129 Wainui Road has been closed since February and La Boulangerie owner Alain Deslandres is angry that it could remain so for the rest of the year.
Mr Deslandres opened his French bakery at 23 Wainui Road three years ago. Customers drive to his shop and the Road Closed signs have lost him that trade. Since the road upgrade began, he says takings have dropped by 50 percent, threatening the viability of his business. Alain has been forced to reduce his opening hours and scale back production.
Further up the road, Heath Moy of Cranefield Automotive and Tyres says it has been a frustrating process and could be a hard winter. “We were given no notice apart from a meeting a few weeks ahead of the work starting,” Mr Moy says. “We gave options to improve things, including offering to shut down over Easter so the contractors could bash out a lot of the work, but they didn’t want to know. It’s a massive project and they should have more people working on it and be working nights as well to speed things up.” He says contractors Fulton Hogan are “full of apologies, but nothing changes”.
The work is being done by Millwater developers WFH Properties and includes road widening for cycle lanes and footpaths, installation of underground power, a large watermain, and services and utilities for residential lots.
WFH Properties spokesperson Warren Frogley says the company has undergone lengthy consultation with Auckland Council and Auckland Transport, is meeting all resource consent requirements and will spend more than $10 million on the upgrade. He says the consent specifies no work at night, Sundays or public holidays, in accordance with residential guidelines. “However, a lot of thought has been put into requests for work on some long weekends, to facilitate the soonest possible completion and minimise disruption to businesses,” Mr Frogley says.
“Every endeavour has been made to minimise disruptions while delivering a substantially improved roadway,” he says. “Infrastructure and the associated amenities will benefit the wider area – it includes a joint venture with Watercare Services to future proof the water supply network for Orewa. WFH apologises for any inconvenience but is glad to acknowledge it is on schedule for reopening the road in late December.”
Ward councillor John Watson attended a meeting between the business owners and contractors earlier this year and says he is concerned about the impact the works are having. “It would have been good to consult the businesses at the resource consent stage to look at a sensible work programme to mitigate the disruption,” he says.
However, as the work is now consented there is nothing to be done. “Because it’s a small group, the business owners are being ignored. I’ve asked about grounds for compensation, but it seems that would have to be via a civil action,” he says.