Kaiapoi welcomes new freedoms

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New freedoms . . . Kaiapoi businesses are expecting a lift with the move to alert level 1. Photo: File

By ROBYN BRISTOW

Kaiapoi businesses are relishing more freedom under Covid-19 level 1 protocols.

Kaiapoi Business Promotions chairman Martin Pinkham says the hospitality industry in particular is relieved to be able to trade freely.

He says it was great to see good numbers of people turned out in the river town during Queen’s Birthday Weekend and last weekend, while businesses were still under level 2 restrictions.

Hospitality outlets will enjoy being able to host more customers, he says.

“There are no restrictions at all apart from being strongly encouraged to have contact tracing,” he says.

Meanwhile, the town continues to grow despite the pandemic putting the brakes on the daily lives of many.

Mr Pinkham says a new 780-square-metre building on the corner of Williams and Charles streets was almost fully tenanted, which was heartening.

Local law firm Corcoran French has already moved into the building, the design of which pays homage to the historic river town, and another tenant is preparing to move in.

A 100-car parking area east of Kaiapoi New World will be a great addition to the town, he says. There will be 60 parks for shoppers and 40 as a park-and-ride facility.

Mr Pinkham says the car park has been approved by the Waimakariri District Council and could be started in July.

“It shouldn’t take too long and will be a welcome addition on the north side of the Kaiapoi River bridge, where parking was difficult.

A planned retirement village at Silverstream, with 400 units, is welcome news, says Mr Pinkham, providing huge job opportunities while being built, as well as staffing once finished.

“It will be a huge boost to the town and is very exciting,” he says.

The opening of the northern corridor toward the end of the year would be a big help in getting people to Kaiapoi and North Canterbury.

Meanwhile, the association is working with several agencies on the Wheels to Waipara project, with a cycleway running down the Waimakariri River stopbank and into Kaiapoi.

“It will be fabulous for recreational cycling,” he says.

The project did not get support in the Waimakariri District Council’s annual plan deliberations, but was one of the “shovel ready” projects submitted for Government support.

The association is working with others on a visitor map for the town so people who arrive are made aware of what is on offer, and is forging ahead with plans to hold its popular annual Christmas Carnival.