Kilbirnie upgrades making progress

STREETWISE: Asia Gallery owner Paul Rivers Paul Rivers says council deserve a pat on the back.
STREETWISE: Asia Gallery owner Paul Rivers Paul Rivers says council deserve a pat on the back.

Kilbirnie retailers have praised Wellington City Council for speeding up the beautification work along Bay Rd that was turning shoppers away.

The $1.4 million revamp had been getting under the skin of some shop owners since beginning in August.

Large fences, footpath detours, long waits at traffic lights and "confusing" car parking had been scaring away customers, they said.

Bay Rd was also reduced to one-way traffic in mid-January, further compounding the problem.

But Asia Gallery owner Paul Rivers said the council had improved things as best it could after a Dominion Post article highlighted the retailers' woes last month.

''A pat on the back to the council for actually changing things and listening,'' he said.

''What we've learned from all this is that there's no point in blasting [the council] when you can provide them with constructive criticism.''

The number of contractors working on Bay Rd during the day had gone from four to nine, and they were doing extra work some evenings.

The council had also sealed the footpaths of some retailers who were complaining about dust coating their merchandise, Mr Rivers said.

Kilbirnie town centre upgrade project manager Stephen Simpson said the council was doing a better job of liaising with shop owners and responding to their individual needs.

''A good example of that was the florist who requested their shop front be clear for Valentine's Day ... and the bottle store at the end of the street that wanted their fencing opened up for Sevens weekend.''

The project team was still aiming to have the Bay Rd project completed by the end of April, he said.

The Dominion Post