Free parking no longer an option

Free all-day parking within Queenstown is no longer an option, with one Chamber of Commerce member saying the current situation is "not very friendly for those wanting to visit" the area.

The first of 140 parking spaces near the Queenstown Gardens will have time restrictions introduced in September as part of the Queenstown Gardens reserve management plan adopted by the Queenstown Lakes District Council last month.

On the basis of freeing up car parks for genuine garden and sports facility users but often used by town workers, they will be the latest in a string of free all-day parking spaces in Queenstown to be made time-restricted in the past few years.

When approached by the Queenstown Times, chamber board member and local pharmacy owner Kim Wilkinson said he understood why the council was making the change.

"It's really obvious that we have a small downtown area and to be able to provide free all-day parking is not an option [that] close to town," Mr Wilkinson said.

"I'm aware that over the last few years there's been a shortage of parks for visitors and locals, and that goes both for short-term parking and for long-term parking ... It's frustrating for people when they come into town and it's frustrating for business people."

He said parks should provide access for park users or people going into town for shopping or to visit tourist attractions, such as the TSS Earnslaw.

"When you have the gardens parking chock-a-block with people working in town, it's not very friendly for those wanting to visit the gardens. I think options for people who work in town are either parking further out and walking, or parking in [pay-parking] places like the Gorge Rd or Mann St car parks, which frees up Ballarat St and the gardens for visitors and shoppers."

QLDC parks manager Gordon Bailey said the introduction of time restrictions on the parks was intended to be be staggered, depending on "the demand" and in consultation with the bowling and tennis clubs.

"We need to further discuss if we have overestimated or underestimated that supply issue. That's the start of the sport season, but it won't be all at once; it will be based on the numbers of car parks that all of the users actually need."

Transport manager Denis Mander said the restrictions would come into effect in September, but there was no allowance for pay and display machines.

"Basically, that's looking way forward. There's been no money set aside from the council for pay and display machines, which cost six or seven thousand dollars each. We are talking about time restriction for this."

When asked if anything would be done about increased parking on residential streets after the restrictions, he said the council would "keep an eye" on the issue, but was already considering taking action on Brisbane St.

"We have had a few complaints relating to residents not being able to park their cars on Brisbane St. There are opportunities to introduce resident parking there ... and set aside a few places that would be time restricted, but residents would be able to park there without restrictions."


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