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Business owner fed up with event shutdowns

JESS LEE
Last updated 05:00 17/01/2014
Rubbish Art
FED UP: Westhaven fishing charter business director Andrew Somers is unhappy that this Sunday’s Ironman event is forcing him to operate from the North Shore.

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Hosting major events may be a coup for Auckland but it can be a headache for businesses unable to operate because of road closures.

Andrew Somers, who runs his fishing charter business Red Boats from Westhaven Marina, is fed up with being unable to access the company's Z Pier base during prime operating times because of major events.

This Sunday's Ironman 70.3 championship event will see access restricted between 5am and 11am as competitors race past the area as part of the course.

Provisions have been made this year for Mr Somers to run his charters from Bayswater Marina on the North Shore.

While he prefers that to shutting down for the day, some clients are put off by having to travel further, he says. "It may only be for a few days here and there but it's right in our prime season - weekends are our busiest times."

"We realise that these events are good for Auckland, we just don't think it's fair that they have such an adverse effect on our businesses."

Mr Somers would like event managers to have more consideration for businesses during future events.

"I definitely think they should consult businesses and that doesn't happen at the moment - we just get told," he says.

The owners of Westhaven Marina's Billfish Cafe are forced to close their doors until the roads are reopened. This costs the business up to $5000 in lost revenue, co-owner Scott Limbrick says.

"It would be great if there was some kind of conversation around it but other than that there's not much we can do, so we just get on with it."

Rachel Carroll,  Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) Destination and Marketing general manager, says there is a fine balance when bringing events to Auckland.

"ATEED injected $39 million into Auckland's economy in the 2012/13 financial year from a world-class portfolio of major events."

The benefits for the city have to be weighed up against the disruption that can be caused, she says.

"ATEED works with the key stakeholders and business groups in the affected areas to ensure measures have been put in place to assist with the potential disruption."

Westhaven Management has arranged for nominated captains from charter businesses to come in before 5.30am and take out their boats this Sunday, she says.

"A pickup area has also been arranged for charter customers on the North Shore, which is free of charge."

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- Auckland City Harbour News

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