Increase in footpath display charges questioned

Goods and signs extend well on to the footpath. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Goods and signs extend well on to the footpath. Photo by Craig Baxter.

Councillors questioned the need for an increase of more than 150% in the fee charged to Dunedin shops that display goods on footpaths.

When presented with the proposed changes to parking fees in the draft annual plan, Cr Chris Staynes asked how a 179% increase, from $33 to $92, in the amount charged annually to shops using footpaths could be justified, and whether it was a case of trying to ''sneak revenue''.

He found it hard to believe how council staff could have got the charge so ''terribly wrong'' previously, that such an increase was needed.

''I would have thought footpath costs would have been known and we shouldn't have got it that far wrong.''

Council group manger of regulatory services Kevin Thompson replied that the increase reflected the ''drastic'' change in the amount of room second-hand shops were taking up in South Dunedin.

This increase in usage resulted in added enforcement costs, which was a reason behind the increased fees.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull asked whether it was fair that a florist, who took up a small amount of space, had to pay more to make up for the other shops that used more.

Mr Thompson said the increase would be charged to everyone, but that a ''comprehensive review'' would involve assessing the charge.

Cr John Bezett asked if as part of the review staff would look at charging by square metre, saying ''it's very important that people pay for what they are using''.

Mr Thompson said it would be ''one of the considerations'', but staff would first look at whether it was desirable for shops to be allowed to have displays of goods on footpaths at all.

After discussions, the councillors voted to agree to the proposed fees.


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