There will be no Santa Parade in Henderson this year.
And Massey Henderson Local Board chairwoman Vanessa Neeson says Auckland Transport should shoulder some of the blame.
She's accused the council controlled organisation of killing Christmas in the township by raising concerns about disrupted bus services – a move she says prompted organisers to transfer the 11-year-old event to Westgate.
Auckland Transport approached the Henderson Rotary Club after last year's parade and said it wanted different parade routes considered for 2013 in order to avoid bus disruptions.
No alternatives were suggested and its own proposal was rejected by the club amidst concerns about speed bumps and safety.
Mrs Neeson lobbied the council to intervene and the original route was eventually given the green light.
But Rotary had meanwhile opted to shift the parade to Westgate.
Mrs Neeson says the whole saga could have been avoided if Auckland Transport had not got involved.
"Eleven years and the whole time the Waitakere council was here there was never an issue," she says. "Auckland Transport are just not playing ball.
"Why do you want to kill Christmas? It's like holding a gun to Santa's head."
Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan says the organisation met with Rotary on August 23 and agreed to seek input from affected bus companies and report its findings back later.
He says Rotary contacted it three days later saying it would have to cancel the parade if it did not have the information by August 29.
"It was not feasible for Auckland Transport to get the information agreed to within this timeframe," he says.
Rotary club president Kerry Dean says a decision had to be made quickly.
"At the end of the day the parade takes a lot of time to organise and we just didn't feel we had enough time to keep haggling," he says.
"It was coming to a stalemate."
The two-hour Henderson parade traditionally started on Edmonton Rd and completed a circle around Westfield WestCity shopping centre before continuing down Railside Ave and finishing on Edsel St.
Past events have drawn crowds of around 20,000.
Ritchies and NZ Bus are the only two companies that run services from Railside Ave and neither has a problem with the route.
Ritchies managing director Andrew Ritchie says just a few hundred customers are disrupted by rerouted services and the company doesn't want to spoil the fun for everyone else.
NZ Bus chief executive officer Zane Fulljames says disruptions from road works and parades are normal and the company can forewarn its customers when plenty of notice is given.
"Is the parade disruptive? Yes it is.
"Do we have an issue with that? No, we don't. We just work around it. It only goes for a couple of hours, it's not a big deal."
The Westgate Parade will be held on November 30 from 10am.
Go to hendersonrotary.co.nz for more information..
- © Fairfax NZ News
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