Auckland businessman says homeless people deterring customers

Nomad managing director Jared Johnstone says he is fed up with homeless people deterring customers from his restaurant ...
CATRIN OWEN/FAIRFAX NZ

Nomad managing director Jared Johnstone says he is fed up with homeless people deterring customers from his restaurant in Pt Chevalier.

Customers are walking out of an Auckland restaurant, but it's not because of the food.

Beggars and homeless people hanging around Pt Chevalier square are intimidating customers and local businesses, a local restaurateur says.

Jared Johnstone, the managing director of restaurant Nomad said a liquor ban for the area introduced in 2010 was not working.

The only visible liquor ban signage is outside the Pt Chev mini mart opposite the square.
CATRIN OWEN/ FAIRFAX NZ

The only visible liquor ban signage is outside the Pt Chev mini mart opposite the square.

He said there was no liquor ban signage in the town square and problems associated with alcohol and drug use in the area were getting worse.

READ MORE: Pt Chevalier town centre's race against time 

"They are sniffing glue a lot and there's kids running around.

"It's got hideously worse."

Johnstone, who opened Nomad more than two years ago, said the area had been rejuvenated but it had not been an easy road.

"It's very difficult when the stigma of this place is full of colourful people.

"I welcome all of these people to use the space but they need to not bring the drinking abuse or solvent abuse and harassment."

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He said his business has suffered as a result of substance abusers hanging around.

"When you have people [customers] leaving because they are being harassed it becomes a problem.

"Satisfaction is really important and they can't have that if they're feeling pestered."

Long-time Pt Chevalier resident and manager of its community page Graeme Keli Bickerton said there had been an increase in "vagrants and beggars" in the area and outside the Countdown supermarket.

"The thugs are intimidating and the area is pretty rife with drunks, but it's everywhere and definitely affecting the community," Bickerton said.

"We have some nice cafe's and the woman don't want to go there because they don't want to be approached."

Albert-Eden Local Board chair Peter Haynes said in October 2015 the board decided to roll over the alcohol ban.

Haynes said the board erected additional signage to remind residents there was a 24/7 alcohol ban in the area.

"Over time the signage has been removed, lost or stolen, so we have been proactive and placed more signage.

"We value community safety and want all residents to feel safe in their neighbourhood," Haynes said.

Johnstone said more patrols were needed in the area but that had become difficult for police since the centralisation of community police stations.

In 2013 the Pt Chevalier community police kiosk was vacated and staff were relocated to Ponsonby station.

Johnstone had asked council for increased signage but was still waiting for a response.

 - Stuff

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