Retail NZ’s advocacy team likes to get stuck in to support our members wherever we see an injustice – or an opportunity to improve conditions for our members.
One example of how we assist by lending our weight came to our attention earlier this year. The Christchurch City Council wanted to take away the through function of a major shopping street (Victoria Street, between Montreal St and Bealey Ave), allowing only buses and cyclists and restricted parking. This would of course impact greatly on the businesses situated in this street.
The objections of retailers in Victoria St had fallen on deaf ears at the council. Many of these retailers have had to relocate several times since the earthquake, at considerable expense. One store, Palazzo Kitchens & Appliances, had just expanded their Victoria St branch and this proposal would have positioned them in a closed-off situation, with limited traffic passing their store.
In June, Retail NZ made a submission to the Christchurch City Council voicing our opposition on behalf of our affected members. Our main points of note (as well as the disruption to businesses) were that the congestion that the council was trying to eliminate only happens at certain times of the day and that it was too early in the city’s regeneration to make such a significant change to traffic flows and pre-empt destination pedestrian areas.
In the last week of August we received notification that the recommendation by city planners to the council will be that the proposed changes to Victoria St do not happen, and that even more parking be provided.
Ron Neale from Palazzo Kitchens & Appliances wrote to us to say how much Christchurch retailers appreciated our submission on this poorly designed proposal by the Christchurch City Council.
“…with the accumulated weight of objections including Retail NZ, the council has since taken an entirely different, but considerably more acceptable approach. I personally was very impressed to see Retail NZ tackle this task unsolicited, on behalf of the Christchurch members, so please pass on our congratulations to your team. It makes being a Retail NZ member that much more valuable.”
The battle is not quite over yet, but we are looking forward to being able to report on the confirmed favourable outcome very soon.