The roof of one of South Auckland’s oldest shopping malls is up for a replacement, more than five decades since it was installed.
The ageing and “moulded” roof of the Māngere Town Centre will be replaced in March, the first time since it was built in 1970.
It’s been subject to a number of slip incidents, the latest last year when a pensioner suffered three fractured ribs.
Auckland Council maintained the incident didn’t occur at parts of the roof it owned.
Area manager Māngere-Ōtāhuhu and Ōtara-Papatoetoe Bill Teaukura said there were two parts of the roof in the mall.
“The central canopy is Auckland Council-owned, and the canopies on the shop fronts is owned by the landlord,” he said.
Teaukura said the leaks from the roof were coming through parts not owned by the council, but managed by the Māngere Business Association (MBA).
He said the council has allocated $767,000 from the long-term plan funding for the roof replacement.
“The three council canopies were built/installed at different times between 1970 and 2007.”
According to a 2013 historic heritage survey by the council, the Māngere Town Centre was built as part of the government’s state housing programmes in the ’60s.
Rather than building the whole building, the government allowed lessees to build their own shops for an open air mall.
The roof canopy was built on several columns which flared out at the top to form a series of intersecting mushroom shapes.
In 1996, canopies went up over the north and west malls to protect shoppers from rain.
Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board chairperson Tauanu’u Nanai Nick Bakulich said the roof canopies underwent annual inspections, but it’s gotten to a point where it needed replacing.
“What comes with an aged asset is it affects the lighting into the town centre. You might see what could be described as aged, or moulded.
“By upgrading that, it allows better lighting into the town centre. Also with an aged asset, what we can’t see is rusting in some of the framework.”
Part of the renewal works in March would also look into non-slip floor options for the centre walkway of the mall, directly under the canopies.
“But it’s really getting those private owners to the party to fix their property because while there’s leaks on their properties, we wouldn’t have the issue we have at the moment.
“Those canopies haven’t caused a problem but what we do know is where the problem lies, with surrounding parts on either side of the canopy.”
Māngere Town Centre manager Dave Fearon said council’s canopy replacement was overdue.
He said they acknowledged reported issues of leaks and slips in the town centre, even though the council claimed it wasn’t on its side.
“The leaky roofs in certain areas and the openness of part of the town centre cause tiles to be slippery and this is indeed a concern.”
He said a potential solution was covering tiles with astroturf or artificial grass, a similar approach taken at Sylvia Park.
Fearon said they were working with the local board to determine who was responsible for ensuring landlords were compliant in keeping customers safe in the mall.
The MBA said it didn’t have any plans for any major upgrades to the town centre.
By Torika Tokalau, Local Democracy Reporter
Local Democracy Reporting is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air