Three barber shops in central Auckland have been closed – and the owner has blamed Mayor Phil Goff.
Barber Shop Company has closed its barbershops on Karangahape Rd, Federal St and Wolfe St.
Outside of these he has put up signs to direct people to other stores that are still open and has directed complaints to a phone number for Goff’s personal assistant.
Founder and CEO Adam Johanson said Auckland Transport (AT) owner Goff and Auckland Council have “deaf tones” to move forward with road works and construction projects, taking over from Covid-19 in the Central Business District (CBD).
“We can’t control Covid,” he said.
“We can control the environment and how many roads we are excavating at a time. I think the AT has ripped them all out at once.
“We have made the decision to temporarily close these outlets until the ATs finish some of their work or people return to the CBD.”
All employees have been redirected to the company’s 15 other barber shops across Auckland, including two “shops” that are open in the Viaduct Basin and Anzac Ave, close to multiple residential apartments.
“Our suburban stores and urban border stores are doing very well, probably better than ever, so we know it’s a localized problem directly related to CBD,” Johanson said.
He said this was partly because many office workers work from home instead of joining the CBD, as the loss of tourists and foreign students also affected downtown businesses.
But he said multiple road works and the Albert St City Rail Link project also obstructed pedestrians and cars and prevented people from coming to town.
“Albert St has been buried for a while. All we have to do is create new dangers. People don’t walk in there,” he said. This has resulted in his Wolfe St store, at the bottom of Albert St, and his Federal St store behind the Auckland District Court.
His K ’Rd store has been successful in building a new bike path, one of the AT projects that has caused road works on 63 streets this year that was also called“ perfect storm ”before Covid.
Another barber on the corner of K ‘Rd and Queen St, Abbas Motemas of the Cutting Crew group, said work to build the corner road had been blocked for more than a year and his business had fallen by 20 to 30 per cent.
“We had four employees, now we’re two and a half,” he said. “We’re trying to encourage them to pay the rent to make the landlord happy. That’s what we can do.”
But Susannah Maloney of Maloney’s Barber Shop in Victoria St said she was “working very hard from the wait to push new customers and push back our old customers who were working from home.”
“We certainly don’t have what we would normally be at this time of year significantly, but not terribly, and not in any way that threatens our business,” he said.
Viv Beck City CEO Viv Beck said last week the number of CBD pedestrians and the volume of retail business were below 25 percent last year.
When the Herald count was done on Nov. 8, 40 stores were closed or rented from 225 Queen St Street premises, between K ‘Rd and the boardwalk, with an 18 percent vacancy rate.
Last Friday’s one-day CBD closure hit again and Beck said this week the number of pedestrians so far is 30% lower than last year.
Auckland Council and AT have been asked to plan works in all areas instead of streets and to compensate companies affected by City Rail Link’s work for just over $ 4 million approved last year A $ 60 million (NZ $ 64 million) in Sydney for companies affected by light rail projects.
Michael Barnett, director general of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, said he did not support road works or stopping City Rail Link, but called on the council to attract people back to the CBD.
“The important role the council should play is to continue to be a CBD destination despite long-term renovation projects. This mission is to ensure that CBD is at the top of its game from promotion. To order people to visit and protect it,” he said.
A spokesman for Goff said stopping the City Rail Link would mean 3,000 jobs, create “enormous difficulties and costs” to restart the project later, and “increase the risk premium for all major NZ projects in the future.”
Mark Hannan, head of media relations at Auckland Transport, said the road works and City Rail Link are part of a $ 6 billion investment in Auckland city infrastructure over the next five years.
“After few years of investment, Auckland is at its peak of growth in the city’s history – so yes, that means there is more road work than ever before,” he said.
But he said the city’s construction project was completed by 75 percent and that eight of the 10 sections of K ’Rd to“ renovate the street landscape ”have been completed.
1. Improvements to Galway St – will open this month.
2. Lower Albert St bus exchange – opening December 2020.
3. Reinforcement of Quay St – from mid-2019 to January 2021.
· Queens Wharf Marsden Wharf (Palisade wall) – full
· Princes Wharf (jet grouting) – complete
· Ferry Basin (berth anchorage) – to be completed by the end of November 2020
· Ferry Building (berth anchorage) – to be completed by the end of January 2021
4. Te Wānanga (new public coastal space): – Inauguration in May 2021.
5. Redevelopment of the Ferry Basin – 1. stage from mid-2019 to April 2021.
6. Improvement to Quay St, especially by April 2021. The final episode between Princes and Queen Wharf will open in mid-2021.
In addition, Lower Queen St, part of the City Queen Link program, will open in late December.
Source: Auckland Transport.