Free park­ing off gift list

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

If there’s a lo­cal is­sue that’s guar­an­teed to raise hack­les, it’s park­ing. But there’ll be no freepark­ing prezzie for Palmy mo­torists.

On Fri­day, fol­low­ing a marathon ses­sion, coun­cil voted 9 – 6 against making an hour’s free park­ing avail­able. It’s a move that will see the ‘‘no­to­ri­ous nine’’ banned from a cen­tral city cafe.

Con­tro­versy-court­ing James Pet­tingill at Tomato on Ge­orge St has in­structed his staff not to serve coun­cil­lors who voted against free­ing up the park­ing man­age­ment regime, say­ing that he’s no longer pre­pared to ‘‘feed the mouths that bite me’’.

That will di­rectly af­fect at least three coun­cil­lors who fre­quent the cafe, though deputy mayor Duncan McCann, who voted for the freebie, says there are some Christ­mas good­ies with free park­ing for Gold Card hold­ers now from 9am – noon. Free park­ing on Satur­day will be ex­tended to 11am from Fe­bru­ary 18 when the Al­bert St mar­ket re­lo­cates to The Square end of Broad­way. A ‘‘buy an hour, get one free’’ pro­posal has been re­ferred for con­sul­ta­tion.

Coun­cil­lor Vaughan Den­ni­son, now tres­passed from Tomato, says the user-pays free park­ing mea­sure would have cost $1.2 mil­lion, and would re­quire an al­most 2 per cent rates in­crease.

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