Car park drama by the seaside

Restaurant owners in the Auckland suburb of St Heliers are opposing plans to remove 40 car parks, saying that it will negatively impact business.

Auckland Transport wants to put in 13 new pedestrian crossings and remove 40 carparks in the village, given the history of injuries in the area resulting from cars.

“If AT puts in what they want to put in, and get rid of 40 car parks, well I might as well just shut up shop,” said Sang Cho, long-time St Heliers resident and owner of Annabel’s restaurant. “I know for a fact that all these businesses will shut up shop.”

Cho estimated that one car park can be worth up to $100 to the business, or around 20 cups of coffee.

No final decision has been made, and AT is currently seeking feedback from the community. The transport authority said that there have been 38 crashes in the village since 2014 resulting in eight injuries, although Cho rejects that figure.

“I’ve been here 21 years, and I can only remember one serious crash.”