Cost of central city leased council car parks rising

Motorists are set to pay more to park in central Dunedin.

City councillors yesterday approved a plan to raise, from July 1, leased parking fees for nearly all its off-street and car park-building parking.

If the plan survives the annual plan process, it will cost $2 more per week to lease a park at the Great King St and Upper Moray Pl car parks, and $5 more in Lower Moray Pl.

The Station car park will be $9 more expensive per week, the Filleul and York Pl parks will cost $8 more, and those in Queens Gardens, Dowling St and Thomas Burns St will cost $3 more.

City environment general manager Tony Avery said the charges, which could be worth more than $130,000 a year to the council, had not been reviewed since 2005.

They might appear "bullish", and they might discourage some users, but they compared well with on-street charges, and were in line with private offerings elsewhere.

Definitive figures were not available yesterday but there was good demand and waiting lists in most areas, Mr Avery said.

Cr Lee Vandervis said that demand was a "silver lining" to the cloud cast by the demise of free on-street parking.

Free parking added to the city's character and caused fewer frustrations for drivers and businesses, but he acknowledged other councils did not give their parks away.

Cr Neil Collins pointed out other councils charged much more and suggested future reviews might consider the new charges too low.

Cr Teresa Stevenson lobbied, ultimately unsuccessfully, for councillors to ring-fence the extra income for projects promoting alternative transport. Warned of the precedent that would set, she argued the parking money could be legitimately linked to other, transport-related initiatives.

Cr Jinty MacTavish - frustrated by a council agenda chock-full of initiatives to cater for oil-based transport - was "astonished" the council could "not adjust to change".

Mayor Dave Cull said ring-fencing money was the wrong way to develop policy and that motorists might consider it a "punitive impost".

Mr Avery said the money was new revenue - it was not in the pre-draft annual plan - so it could offset rates in any council projects.

Cr Stevenson, Cr MacTavish, and Cr Kate Wilson were the only councillors who voted to ring-fence the money.



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