Shepparton News

Let’s park convenienc­e and go al fresco

- DARREN LINTON darren.linton@sheppnews.com.au ● Darren Linton is chief correspond­ent at McPherson Media Group.

Parking is one of those perennial problems in Shepparton because we have a city landscape and a country mentality.

People are just used to parking close to where they need to be.

Greater Shepparton City Council has done more to appease the free parking mob in recent years than ever before — settling on a mix of free timed off-street parking while retaining paid parking on the street.

It is interestin­g to note that the convenient and free off-street parks are often under-utilised, as people still opt to pay for the convenienc­e of a shorter walk.

As we near the vaccinatio­n benchmarks that will open up the economy and our social lives again, there is a real opportunit­y to change habits while doing an excellent service to the community.

Nearly all of our cafe´s and restaurant­s are relatively small, so the premium will be on outdoor dining, not indoor, as we reach vaccinatio­n milestones.

In just a few weeks, we will get to the 70 per cent double-dose target, which will allow pubs, clubs and entertainm­ent venues to host up to 30 fully vaccinated people indoors using the one-person-per-four-square-metre rule.

Outdoors you can have up to 300 people based on the one-person-per-two-square-metre rule.

At 80 per cent of the population double vaccinated, it will be 25 indoors (fully vaccinated) before the ‘square metre’ rules apply in small venues, and up to 150 using the oneperson-per-four-squaremetr­e rule.

The cap outdoors will be 500 using the one-person-per-two-square-metre rule.

Yes, it is confusing, but put simply, you can have more people outdoors than indoors.

Our pubs could use their car parks to get trade back to something approachin­g normal quickly. They shouldn’t be bogged down in red tape to do it.

Our cafe´s, restaurant­s and small bars need space, more than the footpaths offer. The council can help. How about giving these businesses assistance to build semi-permanent spaces that extend into the parking bays?

Why not let them extend outdoor seating beyond their boundaries — taking up the spaces in front of neighbouri­ng non-hospitalit­y businesses?

In busy Fryers St, why not create an entertainm­ent island that takes up the whole street where customers can order from a range of businesses?

We need to be creative and give up little things such as handy car parks or a clear passage for cars to create a buzz.

The traders will love it, but so too will the residents who have been starved of opportunit­ies to come together.

 ?? ?? More outdoor dining options please: Events, like the Fryers St Food Festival, can’t be as crowded, but traders across the city will need space to make the most of the long-awaited reopening.
More outdoor dining options please: Events, like the Fryers St Food Festival, can’t be as crowded, but traders across the city will need space to make the most of the long-awaited reopening.
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