A Tauranga CBD businessman struggling to operate alongside invasive construction is calling for more support after being fenced off from accessing his own shop.
And he has the mayor's support.
Dan Wallace from Electrify NZ said Durham St retailers like him were being "punished" by the Durham St upgrade and a lack of communication from contractors.
Wallace arrived at his e-bike store yesterday but found the tall wire fencing used to cordon off the dug-up road had also been used to cordon off the footpath to his shop.
A sign at Elizabeth St said there was no through access to several businesses, including Electrify NZ.
Wallace said he had not been consulted about the blockage but, in general, businesses had not received much communication about the $10.2 million project which has already drawn plenty of criticism after a budget blowout of $3.3m.
"Weekly we have customers calling in saying they are going elsewhere because they can't get in. This is what we are dealing with. We've got no support," Wallace said.
The sign and fencing was still in place when the Bay of Plenty Times arrived at 11am but was removed as photographs were being taken. A contractor told the Times not to publish any photographs.
Wallace said the whole ethos of his business was to support the community but felt it increasingly difficult to remain positive.
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He called for more support from Tauranga City Council to fund advertising to let people know businesses were still operating in Durham St.
"We are trying our best, trying to do our bit for the community," he said.
"It's just really disheartening. They assured us it wouldn't affect business but 14 months later, this is what we've got.
"We are trying to be positive for people. That's what we value ourselves on. We are a small New Zealand company, here for the people. But we are getting punished."
Wallace said most of the contractors were really nice "but we are in a situation where you can see how many people are working. If there's meant to be a sense of urgency, where is it?"
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The entrance to Durham St's Folk Brewers was also blocked off but owner Hans Kraenzlin said it did not affect his business significantly. Most customers were people who worked in the area so the cafe was "generally doing fine".
However, Graham Whitaker from Eastern HiFi across the road said he was almost at the end of his tether.
Whitaker said restricted access had been the store's reality since the project began in June 2018.
He was considering relocating as it was just a "nightmare" and "a necessity to stay in business".
"A lot of damage has been done here... retailers can only put up with so much."
Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless met with Wallace and agreed it was only fair the council pay for advertising to let people know Durham St businesses were still operating.
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Brownless said he made inquiries about making this happen and was disappointed and "annoyed" to learn shops had since been blocked off by fencing.
"I think they have exceptional circumstances there. The project has drifted on for a long time now. It's only right to do something."
It has been confirmed the footpath was closed to allow for a concrete pour.
Council general manager of infrastructure Nic Johansson said the council was unaware the temporary closure was happening, or the lack of communication to businesses and customers.
"[The] council's expectation is for the contractor to provide sufficient notice (at least 48 hours notice) if they impact any entries or business operations to the shops on Durham and to work with businesses according.
"We have expressed our disappointment to the contractor that this protocol was not followed and seek assurance that they can meet agreed requirements. We apologise for any inconvenience."
Affected businesses could apply for a rates rebate.
- Additional reporting Caroline Fleming