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Ten people dressed in high-visibility vests conducted the parking survey in central Oamaru.
Communications officer Scott Ridley said the council wanted to find out how car parks were being used, where people were parking and how long they were staying.
The survey will form part of a study to determine the future of parking in Oamaru.
Roading network engineer Mark Renalson said the survey would give the council an insight into parking habits and show where it could provide better parking.
The pay-and-display meters on Thames St and in central Oamaru car parks were five years past their expected expiry date.
Surveyors recorded licence-plate numbers to identify how long cars parked in each space.
That information would be used only to calculate the length of stay.
The survey was not an enforcement exercise.
Surveyors did not record illegal parking.
The survey covered the central business district, extending from Wansbeck St to Usk St and across from Reed St to Humber St.
The council's 2010 residents survey showed 84% of residents were satisfied with parking in central Oamaru.