Letter to the Editor, Tuesday September 20, 2016

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REGIONAL ASSET: The new Folders store on Kaitaia's North Park Drive is just a few days away from its November 22 opening. PICTURE/PETER DE GRAAF
REGIONAL ASSET: The new Folders store on Kaitaia's North Park Drive is just a few days away from its November 22 opening. PICTURE/PETER DE GRAAF

I would like to comment on the article in last Thursday's Age regarding the district council's decision to add a turning lane into both The Warehouse main carpark and their loading goods area on North Park Drive.

First, as the regulatory authority, FNDC can make decisions as they see fit.

However, with that responsibility they should ensure the outcome is in the best interest of a viable commercial environment, the community, and obviously road safety.

We doubt the council purposely favoured The Warehouse Group with its decision, but due to the way they considered the application that is certainly the outcome.

Operating a local business against large corporates is always challenging.

In the United States small rural towns similar to Kaitaia have lost their business diversity, and are now completely reliant on their Warehouse equivalent - Walmart.

It's not in Kaitaia's best interests, or the council's, to see this scenario repeated here.

At Folders we have worked incredibly hard to build a store that competes with the best of the big guys.

Our prices are always competitive (if not the best), and with the largest appliance, computer and bed showroom north of Whangarei, we have the biggest range of products for you to choose from.

What we don't have are millions of dollars to spend on advertising, so we rely on our loyal customers letting others know that Folders is always worth the visit and a road that delivers optimum driver convenience.

I do not take issue with the turning lane into The Warehouse main carpark, even though I do not believe the current traffic movements justify a 'personal lane,' and it gives them a level of perceived and undeserved importance.

What I do have an issue with is the decision to extend their 'personal' lane to their goods entrance , resulting in an extended and unnecessary no parking zone.

Folders have more goods traffic movements than they do.

Surely an unencumbered road must be preferential for the community, the commercial development, and the developer, who is working hard to attract further business to Kaitaia.

In my opinion the council did not consider all the issues when making the decision, and allowed a large corporate retailer to dominate traffic movement for their own competitive benefit.

While I understand FNDC defending its position, I sincerely hope that future decisions are made taking a much broader perspective involving a level of consultation.

While I suspect it will never happen, it would be great if FNDC removed the goods entrance lane design and reduced the no parking zone in front of the vacant lots and opposite Folders.

Ian Walker
Owner, Folders

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