Free parking reconsidered after misuse

Oamaru’s Meek St car park, where parking spaces have been at a premium. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Oamaru’s Meek St car park, where parking spaces have been at a premium. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Fears already stretched parking areas in central Oamaru will become more congested have been expressed around the Waitaki District Council table.

On June 16, the council extended its free parking initiative from the end of June to the end of September.

In his mayoral report, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher noted not everyone was happy with the move, saying "too many staff and [business] owners were parking in the free parks", making it difficult for others to find a space.

The reopening of the Waitaki Aquatic Centre on Saturday would only add to those issues, particularly in the nearby Meek St car park, he said.

"I am very concerned. People talk about the off-street car parks being full. At the end of this week we are opening the aquatic centre and it’s going to place demand on the Meek St car park and that’s going to cause greater congestion in that area ... We definitely need to be thinking about what might be put in place."

Cr Jim Hopkins said if the issue was not resolved, free parking should be reconsidered at the end of July, adding it was "glaringly obvious" that changes needed to be made "in that particular location".

Cr Colin Wollstein said free parking was being "abused".

Mr Kircher planned to discuss "interim measures" with council chief executive Fergus Power and the council’s roading department.

"There has been a lot of people realising that limiting time will help. That might be something that we do. ... but you are not going to have people who park there for the whole morning or the whole day. That’s certainly where part of the problem is."

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