Of­fer­ing park­ing ser­vice with a smile

The Press - - News - Lee Kenny

You might have seen Jono Kitt in Christchurch city cen­tre.

The 48-year-old has long blonde hair and de­scribes him­self as a com­mu­nity-minded hippy.

He is one of two un­paid park­ing at­ten­dants wel­com­ing driv­ers at Good Spot car parks – a Gap Filler ini­tia­tive which sees park­ing charges rein­vested into east frame projects.

Kitt is at the Manch­ester St site week­days, from 7am to 9am, rain or shine.

His day job is as a com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment worker at Lin­wood-based Te Whare Roimata but said his aim at Good Spot was to put a smile on peo­ple’s faces as they rushed to work.

‘‘Peo­ple seem to re­ally en­joy the in­ter­ac­tion. It might just be a quick hello but peo­ple like it,’’ he said.

‘‘We were even here in the win­ter months, it was pretty cold but peo­ple still liked to stop and talk.’’

As well as chat­ting to driv­ers, Kitt also of­fers free wind­screen wash­ing ev­ery Fri­day.

‘‘I think peo­ple can be a bit scep­ti­cal when they see this hippy walk­ing to­wards them of­fer­ing to wash their wind­screen for free, but it’s all part of the ser­vice.’’

One happy cus­tomer was Rachael Barker, who works at the De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion.

She said she sup­ported the Good Spot scheme and would not park any­where else in the city.

‘‘I re­ally like the con­cept here. I have even driven a wee bit fur­ther than I need to, just to use this car park.’’

Gap Filler op­er­ates two Good Spots as part of a land deal with prop­erty de­vel­oper Fletcher Liv­ing.

The Bed­ford Row car park opened in De­cem­ber 2017 and the larger Manch­ester St lot opened in Au­gust.

Be­tween them they have a ca­pac­ity for 200 ve­hi­cles and more than 25,000 driv­ers have used the two sites since the scheme be­gan.

Ryan Reynolds, co-di­rec­tor of Gap Filler, said the scheme was go­ing bet­ter than ex­pected.

‘‘We haven’t yet re­cov­ered all the costs of set­ting up the car parks; such as con­sents, earth­works, en­gi­neer­ing, park­ing ma­chines, wheel stops and sig­nage but should do, hope­fully some time in Novem­ber or De­cem­ber.’’

DAVID WALKER/STUFF

Jono Kitt, left, works at the Gap Filler car park at the cor­ner of Glouces­ter and Manch­ester be­tween 7am9am, help­ing peo­ple sort their daily park­ing, and brighten their day with a friendly smile and a bit of a chat.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.