What to do with the Phoenix carpark in Mount Maunganui is a contentious issue, and rightly so.
Both sides have a valid argument.
Parking in Mount Maunganui during summer is always difficult but the Phoenix carpark is a prime piece of land right in the heart of the shopping district which could certainly be put to better use.
I'm in favour of redeveloping it in some way, be it as a "chill-out zone" as the council is currently considering or even as shops with carparking above them.
The Mount does need more carparking but we shouldn't be using such a prime spot for it.
Well developed, the space could be a draw card to bring more people to the area to shop, dine and take in the sights.
The council is planning to add more carparks in surrounding areas to replace the ones lost, which is a good start.
With the region's population growing the way it is and demand for houses in the Mount booming, I think it's time the council considered a carpark building in the area.
The Phoenix carpark site is not the place for it though.
A carpark building would be better situated near Coronation Park and Nikau Cres or on Victoria Rd or May st or Banks Ave.
That is going to mean people have to walk further to get to where they want to go .
People in Tauranga are used to being able to park right outside their destination. That's the bonus of living in a smaller city or town.
As the area grows that's going to be increasingly hard to do.
It's not possible to do that in big cities. In Auckland a 15 minute walk from the car to where you are headed is reasonable.
In cities such as New York, most people avoid driving at all.
Here in the Bay we really need to change our mentality when it comes to parking.
We need to embrace and enjoy the hustle and bustle, even if it means walking a few minutes from where you parked, rather than avoiding the area completely.
Mount Maunganui does need more parking but we also need to change our attitudes to where we park.