Willis St businesses kick up a stink about the stench

By Tema Hemi
Willis Street, Wellington, with its temporary sewage pipe. / Source - File

Local businesses on Willis Street, Wellington are experiencing a dramatic drop in both sales and clientele as a result of the ongoing roadworks to fix a burst sewage pipe that wreaks an awful stench down the whole street. 

Manager of Knit World on Willis Street Shirley Watson says, "Its pretty unpleasant when it comes and yes we did get told that might happen. But yeah it's not a pleasant atmosphere to work in when its like that."

But the Manager of Wellington Water Alex Van Passen says locals have no cause to complain.  

Van Passen says, "It was the smell that alluded us to the problem in the beginning, of the collapse of that critical part of the waste water network. We are pretty confident as things are now there shouldn't be any issues with odour.   

Despite Van Passen's comments, bad odours continue to leak out of the area where repair work is being conducted. Its a major 'put off' especially for the Knit Worlds elderly costumers.  

Watson continues, "Yes we do have quite a few clientele in the older age bracket, who love to knit for charity as well. Its certainly impacted on them being able to get into the store."

Van Passen says "The works will go up until the end of February and hopes that road closures are lifted by March.

"Work on waste, drinking and storm water has always been a priority.

"The City Council spends $180 million per year in this area. Whats happened here is that we've had to put this pipe here as a temporary measure because we had a collapse of a critical piece of our waste water infrastructure so we've got our guys working as hard as they can. 

Watson had this to say in closing, "Its been quiet slow so obviously people getting to us or maybe even thinking that we're not actually open at the moment has been quite an issue too."

All businesses on Willis Street are feeling the pinch and one local cafe owner, who refused an interview said, he could not make his last rent payment.