Inaccessible city- St Asaph Street- another grumpy meeting…

Well that was interesting.

I was rung at 4.10 to be told there was a meeting of retailers from St Asaph St to be held at the ECAN offices in Tuam Street at 4.30. Present was the CECC, CCC numerous angry retailers.

The meeting of grumpy retailers, bar and cafe owners were deeply unhappy with the “Inaccessible city” design that has been imposed on St Asaph street. All stated the same concerns, road width, lack of short-term parking, curbing, lack loading zones,  constant complaints from their customers about being unable to park anywhere near their destination shop. etc!

One company in the area said that this plan was “idealistic” and takes no account of the fact that the retailers in this area were mainly light manufacturing and destination shops. A very valid comment.

There were 6 business owner in the room, that I know about, who planned or were talking about moving out of the area.

CCC maintains the plan was imposed upon them by CCDU.  hum… I believe it was partially designed by CCC staff…  fake news ? The comment from the CCC was “we had no opportunity to change the plan”.

So far I believe that the new curbing has destroyed 2 sumps and 27 car tyres,  those are the ones that we know about.

CCC says that the roading width is deliberate, to “calm traffic” and that they will not bulldoze the new design but they will tweak it.  ie change parking times from 120mins to ??? give us a few loading zones, sort out the taxi stands and smooth some humps and curbs. The speed limit will be reduced to 30 kmh.  (You can only do 30kmh now!).  I am not sure that any of these measures will deal with the real issues.

CCC maintained that St Johns Ambulance were quite “comfortable” to wait in the traffic on their way to the hospital. It is the “nature of the central city to be caught in traffic”.  Really?  next time I have a heart attack remind me to tell the driver to avoid St Asaph Street.

It will take a brave and honest planner to firstly admit that this design is a huge mistake and then it will take a Very brave council to say that it has to be removed and redesigned.

ho hum,  it is surely interesting in this city.

How many Bars and Cafes do we need?

How many bars and cafes does the Christchurch CBD need?  The short answer is not as many as it has.

I see that Liz McDonald from The Press has written a few articles and begun to discuss the issue.  The experienced operators in the city have been discussing this issue for 3-4 years.  I was advised years ago, not be in too much of a hurry to take a bar or cafe as a tenant in our building.  Many of them are in serious trouble…  Lack of foot traffic, lack of parking, lack of night life in the CBD, lack of residents…. the list is endless.

One has to wonder why the CCC is continuing to issue Liquor licences to all these bars and cafes? ….

I can find no answers or comments from CCC, Otakaro or Regenerate CHCH about this issue.  Surely they are not blind???  humm I may be wrong about that. This is an issue that has been brewing (whoops sorry) for 4-5 years….

I have some simple questions. How long is this situation going to last?, when will some life come back to the CBD?, what is the CCC et al doing to help and encourage other retailers?  (Personal experience would tell me that the answer to this question is “zero”, zlich, nada”.

Links here…http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/88396293/does-christchurch-have-too-many-bars-and-restaurants

Followed by:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/88246094/Christchurch-nightlife-is-the-party-over

Followed by, surprise, surprise…

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/88494124/canterbury-rebuild-plateau-knocks-business-confidence-to-fouryear-low

Every one knows that:

  • the tourists are by passing Christchurch, ask any Taxi Driver he/she will tell you..
  • the new roading layouts are impossible- Tuam Street, St AsaphStreet, Madras Streets are a poorly designed mess….the lack of parking is legendary,  the carriage ways are too narrow, the parking limited, the concrete berms are obtrusive and over all the design is c…..(as is the lack of policing for the parking that we do have).   This issue is not going to go away soon, there is a bubbling undercurrent of discontent amoungst the remaining retailers in St Asaph Street, It needs to be addressed urgently by the powers that be, they need to admit that the new roading layout has some major flaws.  And was impossed upon us with no consultation !  As usual.
  • The CBD empties out at 5.00pm  and is deserted after hours.
  • The much touted residential development promised by the “powers that be” looks like they will be overpriced dog boxes… and not come to fruition for years.

Ho Hummm another warm day in a totally dysfunctional CBD.

 

PS Bruce has a very interesting comment to make about the reason for so many bars and cafes in the CBD.  I have added it here as it is pertinent.

“The bars returned largely because the former CBD is the ONLY place they can get extended trading hours (beyond 1am) with any future certainty. They had no choice, even though many could see that they were moving back into a wasteland, and were reluctant to do so, but they had to make a living.
It’s the one particular business that did NOT move back that is interesting; the brothels. Like the bar-owners, they could see that the CBD was to be avoided, but they had a choice. Deregulation of their industry had allowed their patrons and workplaces to disperse into the suburbs, and that is where they went and where they have stayed. To the best of my knowledge not a single brothel has moved back into the CBD”.