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Addressing City Rail Link issues fundamental for Light Rail success

Press release
Wednesday 31 Mar 2021

31 March 2021

Addressing City Rail Link issues fundamental for Light Rail success

Putting in a place a solution to address the severe impact on businesses impacted by City Rail Link construction will be a fundamental element in getting the Light Rail project right.  

Rapid transit is needed to ease congestion and support our rapidly growing city but the Light Rail project announced today must learn lessons from the City Rail Link.  Heart of the City’s Chief Executive Viv Beck says that “involving Auckland in this major project is vital and something we have been asking for.  If the right rapid transit solution can be found and it is well planned, governed and executed, it will help transform our city.  However, if it is not well considered and it does not learn from the City Rail Link experience, the negative impacts across Auckland will be enormous.”

“First and foremost, the issues faced by businesses impacted by City Rail Link construction must be addressed.  Businesses across the city will have seen the impacts on businesses in and around Albert Street and this would give tangible evidence that the Government is now taking this matter seriously.”

Heart of the City has asked Government to establish a Hardship Fund to support businesses seriously impacted by New Zealand’s biggest construction project, which will continue to cut through the heart of Auckland’s city centre for the next four years.

“Many businesses along the construction route have suffered a significant loss of business from a prolonged reduction in foot traffic as well as severe mental distress at the impact City Rail Link construction is having on their business and their lives.”

“We believe that the only fair way to redress this is through financial support. We are asking Government to establish a Business Hardship Fund to support business until the end of the $4.4B CRL construction.”  Other international cities have put in place business support programmes, including Sydney, which acknowledged the serious impact their light rail project had on small businesses.

The need to support businesses impacted by CRL construction has already been acknowledged.  A report from the Economic Development, Science and Innovation Select Committee in March 2020, recommended that Government:

Moves swiftly to consider and develop policies that will assist businesses where there is long-term business disruption.
Considers how the Albert Street businesses can be fairly supported or compensated which may require increasing the overall funding for the project.

“Whilst we’ve had acknowledgment from the new Minister of Transport on the need to support businesses impacted by the ongoing CRL construction, time is running out for some.  Many of these businesses have been seriously impacted for a number of years and with another four years to go, they can’t just keep waiting. There must be a quick, sustainable solution put in place, and this must lead the way in advance of other major projects getting underway” says Ms Beck.

-Ends-

 

Note to Editor

Heart of the City along with others, was successful in lobbying for the establishment of an initial CRL Hardship Fund. This was put in place in late 2019 for the C2 contract works only and was limited in its extent and benefit. There is no current fund available to support businesses in the current area of construction.
Heart of the City is the business association for the city centre, committed to the growth and success of the city centre as a vibrant, accessible, safe and welcoming urban community