Shops op­pose paid park­ing

Central Leader - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

THE AUCK­LAND City Coun­cil will have a fight on its hands if plans to ex­tend pay and dis­play park­ing hours go through, say Pon­sonby busi­nesses.

The pro­posal, up for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion, in­tends to “give a help­ing hand” to busi­nesses by ex­tend­ing the paid park­ing hours from 6pm to 10pm but could end up hav­ing the op­po­site ef­fect.

Ini­tially the plan ap­peared to be aimed only at the cen­tral city but a con­fi­den­tial coun­cil re­port made avail­able to the pub­lic sug­gests it may be ex­tended to Pon­sonby, Par­nell and New­mar­ket.

A ques­tion in the on­line con­sul­ta­tion form asks peo­ple if they would like to see pay and dis­play hours ex­tended in ar­eas out­side of the cen­tral city.

Pon­sonby Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion gen­eral man­ager Justin Bade says the idea is “lu­di­crous”. “It’s a joke,” he says. “They’d have a pretty big fight on their hands.”

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port pre­sented to the coun­cil’s trans­port com­mit­tee, the move is meant to ben­e­fit busi­ness own­ers by free­ing up park­ing spa­ces in the evenings for vis­i­tors to the city rather than them be­ing taken up by res­i­dents in the area.

Res­i­dents would in­stead be en­cour­aged to use off-street carparks and park­ing build­ings.

Owner of Bliss cafe in Pon­sonby Liesje Fe­terika says it would be un­fair to steal carparks away from lo­cal res­i­dents.

“If you’ve paid to live in an area like this you de­serve to have a carpark,” she says.

“It’s our lo­cal clien­tele that gives us busi­ness, I’d pre­fer them to come home stress-free.”

The pro­posal would mainly af­fect busi­nesses around the Three Lamps area of Pon­sonby, where the bulk of pay and dis­play park­ing is sit­u­ated.

Turk­ish cafe man­ager Habib Taib says he would be con­cerned the longer pay and dis­play hours would force cus­tomers away.

“Lots of peo­ple come be­cause of the free park­ing af­ter six,” he says.

“They’ll go some­where else and have their din­ner.”

Coun­cil­lor Mark Don­nelly says it is a “straight money grab”.

The trans­port com­mit­tee es­ti­mates that with no change in car- park­ing oc­cu­pancy, an ad­di­tional $1.56 mil­lion for the cen­tral city and $1.95m through­out the whole of Auck­land city will be gen­er­ated within the first year.

It also es­ti­mates a cost of $544,000 to change dis­play signs and re-pro­gramme park­ing ma­chines.

New­mar­ket Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion and Par­nell Inc rep­re­sen­ta­tives have also voiced their strong op­po­si­tion to the ex­tended hours.

Com­mit­tee chair­man Ken Bag­u­ley has as­sured them pub­lic feed­back will be lis­tened to. “If there is such a mas­sive opin­ion against it, we won’t be do­ing it,” he says.

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