The $3-million construction plan to upgrade an Auckland town centre will go ahead on schedule, despite pleas from business owners asking for a deferral.

Birkenhead Town Centre Association chairman Pete Taylor said given the recent Rawene car park slip in Birkenhead, it was “inappropriate” for the upgrade to proceed in January. He requested it be delayed for 12 months.

Taylor said the upgrade would create yet more strain on an already significant shortfall of car parking in Birkenhead, which would lead to a further decline in revenue business owners.

Local businesses have been “traumatised” by recent events, he said.

The car parking situation in Birkenhead has always been strained, but recent events in Rawene Rd car park have exacerbated the situation, he said.

First, 25 public car parks were leased to private developers and then a further 50 car parks were lost due to the landslide – 26 physically lost and the rest cordoned off.

For example, the centre’s usually lucrative Heritage Week had no increase in business revenue this year, he said.

Taylor requested the 25 leased car parks be given back to the public as a matter of urgency, suggesting a park-and-ride shuttle.

“We want to get the workers cars out of Birkenhead. A shuttle bus system would work and try to encourage people to come into Birkenhead,” Taylor said.

Auckland Transport’s Haydn Read, senior investigation and design engineer, said deferring the upgrade would risk the highly-likely loss of capital funding.

Local board member Paula Gillon said the fact the slip is a natural disaster should be taken into consideration for holding the money over for the next 12 months.

However, local board member Kay McIntyre said financially, if the upgrade is deferred the money will be lost.

“They are not going to worry about the fact that it’s a slip – it’s a car park.

“At the end of the day we have to make our city work.”

“Do it this year or it’s gone,” McIntyre said.

The Birkenhead upgrade saw the Kaimataara ō Wai Manawa completed last September.

Stage one, worth $2,782,452, tackles Rawene Road carpark, the Western Gateway, Mokoia Rd bus stop extension and Le Roys Bush track gateway.

Stage two will be the upgrade of Highbury corner, worth $1,585,000.

Upgrades go out for tender next week.

Article by Laine Moger
Published 19 October 2017 > The North Shore Times –