Like almost every other construction project in the country, work was halted for the alert level 4 lockdown as the work was not deemed “essential” under the strict government guidelines.
Under alert level 3, construction can resume. Council officers have been working closely with all of our external contractors to get our projects back up and running again as soon as possible.
Higgins, our contractors for our Streets for People project, will be back on site from Monday. Council officers have been working closely with Higgins during lockdown to ensure work could resume as soon as possible, but Higgins said they needed more time to complete the documentation required by the government. We’re pleased this work is being done so meticulously, but are disappointed it couldn’t have been done faster. Mayor Grant Smith has called Higgins management to share our concerns.
Council looks to support local business wherever possible and has a buy local procurement policy specifically to support this decision making, which ensures local companies like Higgins can retain their staff - particularly through times like these. Work on the site to date has been completed to a high standard and was on schedule, and we’ll continue to work with Higgins to ensure the impact of Covid-19 has minimal impact to the construction programme.
PNCC Chief Infrastructure Officer, Tom Williams, says our project team has been working with Higgins to alter the construction programme so that the footpath work can be done while many of the shops remain closed. The footpath will be closed from Monday, but residents will still be able to access any shops offering click and collect services.
While we know the delay to construction resuming is frustrating for businesses, we are pleased that Alert Level 3 allows us this opportunity to continue construction.
"This project is focused on having a vibrant city centre that will encourage more people to spend time and money at local retailers. Streets for People has for some time been a strategic focus for our city, but the benefits it will bring will be even more important as we move into alert levels 2 and 1, and move towards a post-Covid-19 era. We hope the news that construction will resume brings some comfort to the retailers in this area."