'Families have been shattered': Compensation refused for businesses impacted by City Rail Link construction

Construction of Auckland's City Rail Link is leaving a trail of destruction behind it as businesses in the CBD claim they're hemorrhaging money, and warn businesses in the upcoming construction zones to get out while they still can. 

The warning comes as the Government continues to dismiss calls for compensation. 

The Shakespeare Hotel, a 120-year-old business, is one example of a business caught up in the City Rail Link construction zone. Their traditional lunch rush has been non-existent for the past two years, completely empty and void of customers.

"This one business would have lost over $1.5 million," business owner Sunny Kaushal told Newshub.

Kaushal is just one of 16 business owners near the Albert Street works who are at breaking point.   

He says six business owners have been forced to shut up shop so far, and everyone's mental health is suffering.

"I can tell you the lives of over 100 families have been shattered because of this City Rail Link works," says Kaushal.

Heart of the City says there has been a lot of delays for such an unprecedented project, and financial support should be available for affected businesses. 

"We believe that it's possible and appropriate to set up a hardship fund, which has been done before in other similar projects, such as in Sydney and Seattle," Tania Loveridge from Heart of the City told Newshub.

Work on the rail link started in early 2016 and while it's due to be completed soon, construction will then begin on another street. Businesses are warning those next in line to prepare for the worst. 

That warning has been received loud and clear by business owners uptown on Karangahape Road.

"It's definitely front of mind at the moment, we're concerned about the disruption and how much notification businesses have been given," says Maurice Wells, the Chairman of K Road's Business Association.

"It's getting to the 'show me the money' part."

That money would come from the Auckland Council and the Government, the rail link's two key shareholders.

While Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says he'll talk further with the Transport Minister about the issue, the Transport Minister says he's not considering cash payments.

"The whole city is going to get the benefit out of it, the country is going to benefit from it, why is it just these businesses that are paying the price, it's unfair," says Kaushal.

With four more years of work still to come, Sunny Kaushal says if they don't start supporting businesses soon, there won't be any left come opening day.


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