More free parking has been added to the Whangarei District Council's strategy to entice spenders back into the CBD - the scene of major disruption in past months as Cameron St Mall is upgraded.
A six-month trial allowing people to park for two hours free on the top floor of the under-utilised Central City Carpark kicks off tomorrow.
The top floor of the Whangarei District Council-owned and run carpark, on the corner of John and Robert streets, operates at about 13 per cent capacity, said WDC property manager Mike Hibbert.
Mr Hibbert calculated the loss of revenue from the trial would be $2000 based on current usage, though this did not take into account the loss of revenue from people who would otherwise pay for parking elsewhere in town.
Councillor Cherry Hermon questioned whether the move was bold enough - raising the fact that businesses were calling for two hours free across the city.
"Yes, it would affect the council coffers but it would put money into the pockets of our CBD retailers," she said.
Cr Hermon said the issue of staff using up free parking meant for shoppers could be dealt with in employment contracts, a common ploy elsewhere in the country.