Kelly Makiha is the Rotorua Daily Post's head of news

Editorial: Missed chance for city

Rotorua Mayor Kevin Winters hit the nail on the head when he said Rotorua District Council would "look like right Charlies" for changing its mind about a free parking trial.

After getting local retailers and shoppers all excited about free parking on a Monday - and receiving praise from local residents and retailers - it has now decided its plan was flawed and has dumped the idea.

Rotorua district councillors voted last week to go ahead with a plan to introduce free parking in the city from Monday, November 5, and every Monday for the month to see if it would attract more people to the city.

However, at an extraordinary meeting of the Rotorua District Council on Tuesday, the proposal was narrowly voted down.

The free parking trial was designed to address concerns of retailers and customers at the downturn of shoppers within the central business district, mainly because of a perceived problem created by the introduction of pay-and-display parking meters.

Councillor Mark Gould abstained from the vote as he felt as a city centre retailer he had a conflict of interest.

Critics on Facebook discussions have said Mr Gould should have voted for that very reason - he was voted on to represent the retailers and this is an important issue for them.

His vote would have made it an even split, leaving the casting vote to the mayor, who would have likely voted for the trial.

Part of the problem with the proposal was the council feared workers would park their cars in town and take up all the spaces.

But surely, this could have been worked around by making the trial just for afternoons? It would take a determined worker to go and move their car to a closer and free space after lunch.

By scrapping the idea, now we will never know if people don't come to the city centre because they have to pay for parking. Plus, it's all been a bit of a waste of time.

What do you think?

Email, text DP then your message to 021 241 4568, or write to editor, PO Box 1442, Rotorua

- Rotorua Daily Post

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