Free parking at Whangarei Town Basin will become a thing of the past, unless you want to stay less than an hour near the children's playground, with Whangarei District Council today voting to introduce paid parking and time limits for the popular spot.

At an extraordinary meeting the council today voted today to introduce pay-and-display metered parking in the carpark for $2 an hour, for a maximum of three hours. There will be 16 carparks near the playground on the northern side of Reyburn House Lane free for an hour.

The council will review the situation three months after the paid parking is introduced to see the impact on businesses and if any changes are needed.

Mayor Sheryl Mai and councillors Phil Halse, Cherry Hermon, Greg Martin, Tricia Cutforth, Greg Innes and Sharon Morgan voted to introduce the fees, while councillors Stu Bell, Vince Cocurullo, Crichton Christie and Jayne Golightly voted against. Councillors Anna Murphy and Sue Glenn were absent from the meeting.

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The council introduced the charges to free up spaces at the Town Basin as it found some people were using the free carparks for hours on end and even the whole day, thereby not freeing up spaces for those that wanted to visit the Town Basin or shop there.

During the recent parking strategy review it was reported that the occupancy rates for the Town Basin carpark were consistently over 90 per cent over the day, during the week of the survey period. A recommendation from the workshop was the introduction of parking charges at the Town Basin to manage the availability of parking.