Angry Renwick business owners fear they could be left counting the cost of plans to replace parking spots with planter boxes.
A Marlborough District Council initiative to put concrete planter boxes on Renwick’s main street has local businesses up in arms.
At a charged meeting between several Renwick business owners and council staff on Wednesday, business leaders voiced fierce opposition to the idea.
The meeting followed a flyer drop by council staff detailing the plans to local businesses, but owners say they feel “ambushed”.
Initial plans saw the busy thoroughfare losing more about 14 car parks, but a revised option was presented to the nine Renwick business owners at the meeting, at the Renwick Roadhouse Café, where about four parks would be removed.
Renwick Roadhouse Café and Bar owners Kristine and David Hudson say losing a single 10-minute carpark from the street could cost their business upward of $20,000 a year.
“The business is our livelihood,” Kristine says.
“We’ve been here nearly nine months and we only heard about it the other day.”
“The issue is, we need more carparks, not less.
“Boaties on the way to the Sounds – if they can’t get a park, they keep driving,” Kristine says.
Council bosses says the idea was to help cut speeding through the town.
Metal planters were placed along the busy street in the past year but were removed due to vehicles crashing into them.
Marlborough District Council community advisor – Marlborough townships Adi James says the plans were revealed at a Smart and Connected gathering about a month ago.
But the initial idea was first put forward a few years ago.
Originally, Adi says plans were to line the street with large trees, however, that plan “stalled”, she says.
The latest proposal would help save money by “piggy backing” on current works fixing pipes along High Street.
Kristine says business owners are “sick” of the ongoing work along the streets.
She says the roadworks are costing her about $2000 per week in lost sales.
Adi says there is still the option to not go ahead with the project, but it is an “opportunity worth exploring”.
“There were some benefits with piggybacking,” she says.
Liquid Action owner Matt Broughan says the changes could potentially cost his business up to $50,000 a year in lost sales.
“It’s got a huge effect on local businesses,” Matt says.
“We’re all a bit blown away with it.
“To rush it through to save $100,000 – it could cost us much more.”
Matt says once the concrete planters are in, there’s no going back.
“We need the car parks desperately.”
Matt says he loves working in
Renwick and being a part of the community, but the consultation process surrounding the
proposed plans in Renwick was lacking input.
His “bottom-line” at the meeting was “no loss of car parks”.
“I’ve had a kick up the arse,” he says.
“I should have listened, but I’m prepared to put a positive effort in.”