Wellington council destroys more businesses

We have all heard how tough things are becoming for dairies these days. The long hours are bad enough. But nowadays, with the high prices of cigarettes, and the risk of robberies because of the high price of cigarettes, it is getting to the point where, for a lot of operators, it is all simply not worth it.

If that was not all bad enough, now it seems that the Wellington City Council are putting the boot in as well.

Stuff?reports: quote:

As Wellington’s Island Bay cycleway saga drags on, more?dairy owners claim?the debacle have?put them?out of business.

Mersey St dairy co-owners Sanjay and Jayshree Patel?say they will be closing their business in November because of a lack of parking outside their shop.

Last year Chappies Dairy on Dee St closed, with the owners saying the removal of parking outside the store for the cycleway proved to be the “nail in the coffin” for their business.

The cycleway debacle has dragged on since it was first mooted in 2011 and intensified after it was completed in early 2016. end quote.

It is used by a limited number of cyclists, but the damage to local businesses is significant. You can bet that the residents really do not want this.

The thing is that it does not seem to me that the modus operandi of the council should be putting people out of business. Firstly, it reduces rates. Secondly, it inconveniences ratepayers. You might fall into the trap of thinking that this is something that the council would avoid at all costs.

But you would be wrong. quote:

Sanjay Patel said his business had plummeted by 60 per cent since the cycleway was built.

“The cycleway has had a major effect on business.”

He tried to keep the business afloat by driving a taxi as well, but said it was no longer worth propping the dairy up because they were swamped with tax, insurance and rates bills they could no longer afford.

With no parks directly outside the shop,?and those around the corner next to the Empire Cinema on Mersey St often taken up by filmgoers or simply too awkward to get in and out of, the store had become anything but convenient.

“When they took the parks it broke our heart,” Jayshree said. end quote.

But they did it anyway… and there wasn’t even a rates reduction to soften the blow. It must have been obvious that the reduction in car parking was always going to impact their business very badly. quote:

Island Bay Residents’ Association (IBRA) president Vicki Greco said the cycleway had a big impact on businesses and it was terrible position for the Patel family to be in.

“We highlighted this to the council several times when the cycleway went in and it is still having an ongoing impact due to the lack of parking.”

Meanwhile, the residents were continuing to forge ahead with community-funded legal action against a new?revamped layout?and she expected papers would be filed in court in the next few weeks.

IBRA have threatened to halt any work on the project with a court injunction. end quote.

They are up against the Wellington City Council though, that has deep pockets and an agenda that does nothing to encourage small business. Or any business, for that matter. quote:

In the meantime, the council?was preparing?for the legal action.

Retail strategist Chris Wilkinson, of First Retail Group, said dairies are now a marginal business and around the country dairies were becoming less relevant.

“We are finding more are closing and can’t afford to remain because of rents and changes in consumer behaviour.”

Many core products such as cigarettes, confectionery and fizzy drinks were vulnerable as consumers become health conscious. end quote.

In other words, the council has decided that dairies are not the sort of business they want in Wellington any more, and they have decided to just drive them out, one way or another.

I’m not sure I agree with the comment about consumer behaviour. People still smoke, they still eat chocolate and they still drink soft drinks, even if they go for the low sugar version. Is the council saying we shouldn’t even be drinking low sugar soft drinks? Is it to be nothing other than water from now on? And exactly why should the council be making these decisions on our behalf?

The council should not be deliberately interfering with local businesses, but nothing will stop them. They should concentrate on core services, such as water supply, sewerage and drainage and rubbish collection. They have no right to decide what sort of businesses are run in the city. Above all, they have no right to drive small businesses into the ground in Island Bay. Particularly for a cycleway that nobody uses, in the Wellington suburb with the widest roads of all.

Councils should stick to being councils. Instead, they are behaving like the Thought Police.