Cameron Rd changes a no go for business owners

Baryride Motorcyles owner Catherine Fleming.

Cameron Road business owners are hugely concerned about proposed changes to the road and how it will affect their ability to trade.

Bernina Sewing Centre Tauranga owner Robyn Curd says she will have to relocate if the planned cul de sac at 5th Ave goes ahead.

Tauranga City Council’s Futureproofing Cameron Road project proposes to change access to some side road intersections from Harrington Street to 17th Ave and create cul de sacs on 5th and 7th Aves. There will also be a cycleway from 15th Ave to Harington Street and on-peak bus lanes on either side of the road ending at Elizabeth Street.

If 5th Ave is closed off from Cameron Road, customers will have to go around the block to access their parking, says Robyn.

“People aren't going to drive all the way around the block to get to a building. They'll just go somewhere else that's convenient,” she says.

“We want our customers to be able to get to us easily. If we lose our customers, we lose our business.”

She holds courses as well as having a retail store and customers need to be able to park close because they bring sewing machines to the classes, she says.

“If I don't have my classes, I don't have a job either.”

Robyn says the cost of relocating would be around $10,000 because the new premises needs to be fitted out as well.

“It's money we don't have.”

Bayride Motorcycles owner Catherine Fleming says the bus lane will negatively impact their business because they need parking during peak hours.

“At the moment we already have customers complaining that they can't always get a park, but with this bus lane they won’t be able to park at all,” says Catherine.

They need parking spaces most during the proposed peak times of 7-9am and 3-6pm because they have customers dropping off bikes first thing in the morning and picking them up at the end of the day, she says.

Catherine has been told by some customers that if they can’t get a park they won’t bother coming in.

Owner Monique Shim says not having peak time parking outside Good Vibes Lunch Bar will lose her business because she has tradesmen stop by early to pick a coffee, pie and quick food.

“We do definitely need that parking.”

Catherine is concerned how it will affect couriers dropping off stock to Bayride because they already double park as it is.

Robyn is also worried how freight vehicles will access the three businesses in their building if the plans go ahead.

Large freight trucks do deliveries every two to three days and they will struggle to manoeuvre in the new layout especially because cars park on both sides of 5th Ave at the moment, she says.

Robyn first heard about the Futureproofing Cameron Road project two weeks ago despite council doing initial engagement in 2018. She has been at the Cameron Road site for six years.

“The fact that we've only just found out, the same time the public found out, is not right.”

Council director of transport Brendan Bisley says council had planned to door knock at affected businesses earlier in March but the change in Covid-19 alert levels prevented this, so instead flyers were sent to tenants and property owners.

He says council has followed up with their mail service provider as to why Bernina Sewing Centre didn’t receive a flyer.

Monique gave council feedback in 2018 saying it is not a good idea to lose parking during peak hours.

In November last year, Catherine and her husband Damian were contacted about the plans and they gave feedback about traffic flow, busy trade times and access for loading goods.

Tauranga City Council Infrastructure general manager Nic Johansson says council has been working with businesses along the stage one stretch of Cameron Road since 2018 to incorporate their feedback and concerns in the design process.

He says based on the proposed changes, there is potential for a net increase in the number of carparks along the route. The offset is possible by creating parking on some side roads, says Nic.

“The number of carparks gained or lost will not be known until community engagement has been completed, and the feedback considered in the final design.”

Nic says no formal decision has been made about the 5th and 7th Ave cul-de-sacs because council is still engaging with the wider community to capture their feedback and concerns.

“We are aware of the potential impacts and are looking at ways to provide safe access for residents, customers, commuters and business owners.”

Brendan Bisley says while there would no longer be vehicle access on and off Cameron Road, pedestrians and those travelling by bike, scooter or mobility device will still be able to freely access 5th Ave and 7th Ave from Cameron Road.

“These changes are designed to improve safety and took into consideration the availability of alternative routes. Road users will be able to use new traffic lights at 6th Ave.”

Nic says, to understand the potential impacts, council will trial some side street closures using temporary traffic management as part of the early works.

Public consultation on the project closes at 5pm on April 10.

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