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Thursday December 20, 2018

Brooklyn businesses slam new bus hub By Jamie Adams

Greater Wellington Regional Council is under fire over the layout of the bus hub in Brooklyn’s Cleveland St, with residents and business owners saying it’s had a detrimental effect on the suburb. One cafe owner, Jo McNaught of Jo’s Place, has labelled the councillors and contractors as “muppets” for the effect the hub has had on the area, especially her income. “I’ve lost about 15-30 percent every day since they started the project in June. They would do major tarsealing during lunchtime, meaning the road was completely closed during that time.” Jo says her loss of income will be ongoing as the new hub meant six parking spaces were removed, including four on Jo’s side of Cleveland St, to accommodate the new bus stops. Jackie Desai, who owns Wing on Chang Food Market directly across from Jo’s Place, says more customers are double parking because of the loss of car parks. “People tell us they don’t bother coming in because they can’t park.” She says Cleveland St has become unsafe, especially for nearby school students, because of the frequency of buses, a new bus stop on the corner with Harrison St, and the reduced width of the road where another bus stop has shifted to. The construction process also affected her income. “It took them about six months to do the whole thing. Within that six months we weren’t even meeting half of our daily turnover.” She believes the council has been “absolutely” incompetent in its management.

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inbrief news Big insulation subsidy for Wellingtonians Summer is a good time to take advantage of Government insulation grants for low-income households says EECA Energywise. Warmer Kiwi Homes manager Eddie Thompson says insulation grants covering two-thirds of the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation are available for low-income homeowners. In Wellington City, additional funding from Wellington City Council means the discount is 85 percent, often bringing down the cost of insulation to a few hundred dollars this year. Eddie advises homeowners to check for eligibility by contacting the Sustainability Trust which is contracted to deliver the programme - customerservice@sustaintrust. org.nz or 0508 78 78 24.

Terracotta warriors now on show Te Papa’s landmark Terracotta Warriors exhibition is now open. Board chairman Evan Williams says: “It is a huge honour to be entrusted with these greatest treasures of China. We embrace the responsibility of being their Kaitiaki and this opportunity to share China’s ancient history with New Zealanders.” The exhibition features eight life-sized warriors and two horses from the buried army that guarded the tomb of China’s First Emperor. Also on show are over 160 exquisite treasures from imperial tombs in and around China’s ancient capital, Xi’an. Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality runs until April 22. Tickets available from tepapa.nz/terracottawarriors

A bus stops at one of the shelters of the new Brooklyn bus hub, with the bus stop space notably taking up most of the lane on Cleveland St. PHOTO: Jamie Adams

“The [contractors] knew what they were doing and the manager of the workers even told [the council] that when you take the footpath out, the distance between the two footpaths would not be enough for two-way traffic. He wanted [the council] to listen but they didn’t.” Brooklyn Residents Association chair Sophie Jerram says new layout is an accident waiting to happen, with buses having already taken out wing mirrors. The BRA undertook a survey

of businesses, results which Sophie says are “shocking”. “Using a scale of 1 (woeful) to 10 (superb) the highest average score across the ratings given by responders was 4.3 with 4 being the highest median,” she says. “We believe that much of this angst could have been reduced by open and proactive communication from the councils throughout the planning and the building of the Hub.” While a review is scheduled for July, Sophie urges the re-

gional council to undertake one urgently to address concerns and undertake immediate remedial action. Wellington-based regional councillor Sue Kedgley gives her “abject apologies” for the disruption experienced while the hub was being built. “Cleveland Road is very narrow so if local dissatisfaction remains we will need to review the functioning of the hub and see what improvements can be made to it.”

Record arrival numbers predicted A record number of international travellers are expected to pass through Wellington Airport over the summer period. Approximately 70,000 visitors will fly into the airport over summer, an increase of 9 percent compared to the previous year. The busiest day for international movements through the airport will be Sunday January 6, with almost 4500 international seats over 24 flights operated by six airlines. Mike Vincent, Wellington Airport’s Airline Development Manager, says the majority of international air visitors to Wellington will use Trans-Tasman services.

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