Free parking may end earlier

Free parking may end at two Oamaru car parks on September 1, a month earlier than the Waitaki District Council’s initial plan.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the council’s community, culture and heritage committee, councillors voted down an amended recommendation put forward by Cr Melanie Tavendale that free parking at the Medway St and Stewart St car parks cease on September 30, instead of the September 1 date recommended by council officers.

Speaking on her amendment before the vote, Cr Tavendale said the council had made it "quite clear" to the public over the past several weeks free parking would be in place until September 30 and any change may cause confusion as to when the initiative ended.

She was also concerned parking congestion issues "would be moved to the main street".

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher voted against the amendment and argued the proposed date should stand.

"The reality is the car parks are full there. We have got a lot of people going to the hospital for appointments and other appointments and they can’t find a park [and] are parking far too far away. People dropping kids off at the pool, they can’t find a park and they are having to park far away.

"We are hearing about people being late for appointments and so forth and it’s about dealing with that."

The second of four recommendations to the full council, that paid parking return on September 30, was moved, as was the development of a parking strategy after the council’s town revitalisation and harbour connections projects were formally discussed.

The council’s parking reserve was in deficit by $100,849 as at June 30, and was increasing at a rate of about $20,000 a month.

The committee’s recommendations will be considered by the full council on August 25.

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