Works ‘nerve-racking’ for businesses

Suburbia Eatery and Nightlife, and Biggies Pizza owner Ian Lindsay stands in Stuart St. In May,...
Suburbia Eatery and Nightlife, and Biggies Pizza owner Ian Lindsay stands in Stuart St. In May, both his businesses will become inaccessible by car for six months, due to work to repair pipes in Bath St. PHOTO: CRAIG BAXTER
A central Dunedin bar owner says a six-month street closure for roadworks will have effects "up there with Covid" for his business.

The Dunedin City Council announced yesterday "most" of the lower Stuart St block, directly down from the Octagon, would be closed to vehicles for six months, starting in May, in order to replace damaged stormwater and sewerage pipes running underneath Bath St.

The majority of the work would take place in Bath St and at the intersection of Bath and lower Stuart Sts, and parts of the block would need to be closed to allow for construction, the council said.

It would also affect Moray Pl, near the Great King St intersection, and the intersection of Bath and George Sts.

Once new pipes had been installed, the road surface of the street would be upgraded to make it more pedestrian friendly.

The entire project was expected to be completed in July 2025.

Suburbia Eatery and Nightlife, and Biggies Pizza owner Ian Lindsay said the roadworks were "quite nerve-racking" for local businesses.

While he understood the work needed to be done to repair the damaged pipes, the council’s approach could have been better and he had not expected it to stretch into Stuart St, Mr Lindsay said.

"It doesn’t really promote my business and I’d say my restaurant is going to suffer quite hard because of it.

"It will be up there with Covid."

It was his understanding the road would get shut off where Stuart St intersected with the Octagon.

The roadworks would be "a pain in the ass" for his patrons to navigate and he was worried his businesses would not be able to extend their frontage out on to the street while construction was happening, he said.

The Perc Cafe co-owner Sarah Hussey said she was not worried about the impending street closure.

She was aware the roadworks in George St had badly affected retail businesses in that area, but she was remaining optimistic as all their regular customers accessed them on foot, she said.

There was no stopping the work, and therefore no point in worrying about it, and she would strive to remain compassionate to the workers.

"We’ll just ride it out.

"There’s no way out of this apart from they’ve got to do the work and so let’s just get on with it."

Council climate and city growth general manager Scott MacLean said the work had been co-ordinated to reduce the disruption to businesses as much as possible, including starting the project at the end of the cruise ship season.

"However, we acknowledge that the work will still be disruptive and we’re working closely with property owners, tenants and residents to minimise inconvenience," Mr MacLean said.

The council did not respond to questions by deadline, including how much the underground pipe repairs would cost.

However, in December last year, the council voted 10-3 to approve a $1.5 million moderate above-ground upgrade to the street.

In order to carry out the work it bought a building for $1.775 million for the purpose of connecting pipes between Bath St and Moray Pl.

It also paid out popular Moray Pl cafe Side-on nearly $700,000 in order to vacate the building.

The council said previously that a partially collapsed watercourse pipe also ran underneath the cafe and was releasing stormwater, which had the potential to create a sinkhole.