Cafe gets another year's road reprieve

KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 05:00 12/04/2014
Simon Wislang’s Melt Cafe
CAMERON BURNELL/Fairfax NZ
EXTENDED MENU: NZTA was going to use Simon Wislang’s Melt Cafe in Waikanae as its northern headquarters for the McKays to Peka Peka expressway. It has now decided to use a neighbouring house instead, meaning Melt can continue on the site for at least another year.

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A popular Kapiti cafe has been granted a stay of execution by the Transport Agency as work proceeds on the McKays to Peka Peka expressway.

Simon Wislang leases Melt Cafe in Te Moana Rd, Waikanae. He took over the cafe in July 2011, aware the expressway required the property but with no idea when the project would start.

Now, after first believing he would have to be out of the building by January this year, he and his staff of about 14 have been given at least another year.

NZTA had planned to use the building as the northern site office for the expressway project, where on and off ramps would be built. It will now use a neighbouring house instead.

Wislang said the news was a big relief. It had been stressful running the business on a month-to-month basis, and he considered packing it in late last year.

"Getting short [lease] extensions, it was really difficult to manage the staff and stock. Going from date to date was very unsettling . . . hard keeping staff morale up. It came to the point when I thought ‘I cannot run a business like this'."

Wislang is working with Waikanae Golf Club and NZTA to eventually move the cafe on to the club's property.

NZTA Wellington highways manager Rod James said: "While, on one hand, construction of the expressway will inevitably cause some disruption, on the other hand we do endeavour to make life easier for residents and business owners whenever we can.

"It's really rewarding to be able to extend the lease and enable Melt to continue to operate at this location for another year."

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- The Dominion Post

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