Park­ing tri­als a big suc­cess

The Tribune (NZ) - - INSIGHT - GRANT SMITH, FROM THE MAYOR’S CHAIR

I be­lieve the park­ing tri­als in the CBD have been a suc­cess.

The ben­e­fits that come from giv­ing peo­ple more in­cen­tive to drive into town, park, and shop and dine far out­weigh the ben­e­fits of park­ing rev­enue. It sure makes for a more re­laxed and wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

The tri­als have al­lowed peo­ple to park for longer. They have been able to stay in the same space for up to three hours pro­vided they feed their me­ters. On Satur­days, park­ing has been free un­til 11am.

I want to see the tri­als adopted as part of Coun­cil’s busi­ness-as-usual when the park­ing plan is ap­proved.

In the mean­time, my­self and deputy mayor Dun­can McCann will con­tinue our fight to in­tro­duce firsthour free park­ing.

It will at­tract more peo­ple into the cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict, par­tic­u­larly from through­out the Cen­tral North Is­land. It’s time we re­stored our man­tle as the shop­ping des­ti­na­tion of choice for the wider re­gion.

In other good news, the city’s build­ing sec­tor has bro­ken the back of a seven-year down­turn. Since 2008, nearly 400 lo­cal con­struc­tion jobs have been lost. Now, build­ing com­pa­nies are em­ploy­ing again.

It’s time we re­stored our man­tle as the shop­ping des­ti­na­tion of choice for the wider re­gion.

You might have seen the crane above Massey Univer­sity where the Wild­base Hospi­tal is be­ing built. Later this year, work is ex­pected to start on an­other multi-level build­ing at Massey for some of its Food HQ re­lated part­ners.

In the CBD, things have been quiet on the build­ing front for far too long. It is ex­cit­ing to hear that work is about to start on the largest build in the cen­tral city in more than a quar­ter of a cen­tury – a five level build­ing.

Dis­ap­point­ingly, Coun­cil’s third quar­ter re­port has high­lighted Coun­cil’s num­ber one is­sue – com­plet­ing the work promised to rate-pay­ers.

Only $20.4 mil­lion of the $51.7 mil­lion cap­i­tal bud­get had been spent. It also showed a sur­plus of $3.4 mil­lion and lower than ex­pected debt, and while these are good things, pro­jects are not be­ing com­pleted on time.

I and many of my coun­cil col­leagues are adamant that it is time to step things up a notch.

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