Councillor's bid to reveal parking plan

By John Cousins

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Councillor Rick Curach. Photo / John Borren
Councillor Rick Curach. Photo / John Borren

A bid to disclose secret details of how many leased carparks the Tauranga City Council will supply Trustpower has been deferred until next week.

Councillor Rick Curach believed the public had a right to know the number of carparks the council had committed to TrustPower, once the company had shifted into its new downtown head office.

The council's weekly informal forum yesterday decided to wait until Mayor Stuart Crosby and council chief executive Garry Poole were present.

Cr Curach said councillors asked that the terms of the council's agreement with TrustPower be made available to them prior to next Tuesday's forum.

Construction of the head office had started on the former Bay of Plenty Times site in Durham St - opposite 127 off-street carparks that would be lost if the planned university campus went ahead.

Mr Crosby disclosed earlier this year that the council's role in the joint-venture development between Trustpower and Tauranga developer Peter Cooney was to assist with making sufficient leased parking spaces available in and around the new building for up to five years.

However, when Cr Curach attempted at a recent council meeting to find out the number of carparks the council had committed to supply Trustpower, he was told the information was confidential. The new building, which will have 75 carparks, was designed to accommodate 450 people. This development, along with the planned new campus and other factors influencing growth in the downtown, has led council staff to conclude that unless there was a big shift in people's commuting habits, a third carpark building would be needed within the next four years. Trustpower community relations manager Graeme Purches has clarified comments made in a council report that the new development would increase the demand for public carparks by up to 300 if Trustpower staff did not transition from cars to other modes of transport.

He said Trustpower already leased parking for the 65 people who worked on the top floor of the Westpac building in Devonport Rd, meaning a maximum of 385 staff would transfer to the CBD. Mr Purches said the number of staff at work at any one time did not equate to the number of staff the new building would cater for, or the number of parks that would be required.

Some staff were meter readers who came in occasionally to download data while others worked outside normal hours. Staff currently based at Te Maunga would for the first time be able to use public transport once they shifted into town.

He said some staff rode motorcycles or cycled to work, some car pooled and some were dropped off and picked up.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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