City parking review stalls - councillor

By John Maslin

1 comment
Rob Vinsen
Rob Vinsen

The Whanganui District Council has been told to get into gear with a review of inner city parking.

The call has come from councillor Rob Vinsen who said an intended review of the council's parking management plan still had no timeline.

"Changes are needed urgently. Procrastinating won't help," Mr Vinsen told the Chronicle.

At the moment council's parking activity isn't meeting budget. The budget had been re-forecast at the end of December last year but the targets are still not being met.

Since January the older single head meters have been the target of vandalism and thefts from them are continuing on a weekly basis.

Council officers said the central business district was changing and a new parking management plan was needed to reflect those changes.

"With less revenue and more demands for free parking the overall philosophy of parking needs to be considered," the officers said.

Mr Vinsen has highlighted the vacant carpark that serviced the former Briscoes outlet in St Hill St. It's being used daily by inner city workers and council staff acknowledge it was having an impact on parking revenues normally gathered from metered parking along St Hill St.

The land is owned by developer CJ Efstratiou and Mr Vinsen suggested council contact him with an offer to manage the space on a shared income basis.

"But a more comprehensive review should include increased free parking outside Victoria Ave, and an evaluation of first hour free parking in the Avenue. Hastings and Nelson have adopted first hour free after a six-month trial period," he said.

But Mr Vinsen said the "big lesson" was to steer clear of parking sensors that Palmerston North and New Plymouth councils installed.

"They bring in a lot more parking income but at a terrible cost to goodwill because they change the role of a parking warden to one of solely writing out tickets.

"In Palmerston North the sensors alert wardens to a spot where the fee has been unpaid after only two minutes, which is savage."

He said the sensors have incited "massive anger issues" in that city and there have been public calls to remove them "even from the previous deputy mayor, who said he was sorry that he promoted them".

Jo Meiklejohn, Whanganui council parking services team leader, confirmed the parking plan was due to be reviewed but she said before beginning the review staff needed to get data about what space is available and how this will affect the inner city's future parking needs.

"Once the data is collected, we will present it to councillors and then consult our community before a new plan is adopted," Ms Meiklejohn said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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