Overnight coach park used little

The Bus and Coach Association is leasing this Industrial Pl site for overnight coach parking....
The Bus and Coach Association is leasing this Industrial Pl site for overnight coach parking. Photo by Guy Williams.
A temporary overnight park for coaches and buses in Queenstown has been used only 17 times in the past three weeks.

The Bus and Coach Association (BCA) has a two-month lease on the Industrial Pl site to alleviate a claimed shortage of coach parks in the resort.

BCA chief executive Barry Kidd said demand was picking up, but use of the site was ‘‘probably a little less than we expected''.

A month ago Christchurch-based coach driver Rod Griffiths claimed dozens of drivers were prepared to blockade the resort's CBD out of frustration at a shortage of overnight parks for their vehicles during the peak tourist season.

He blamed a clampdown on coaches parking around the CBD and a dwindling number of overnight parks at the resort's hotels. Mr Kidd said coach parking was an issue in the resort, particularly during summer.

The time drivers had to spend looking for a park could encroach on time for meal breaks and legally required rest periods.

But the level of support for direct action by drivers had been ‘‘overstated''.

‘‘BCA members made it clear to their drivers that blockading streets was not acceptable as there were already discussions with the Queenstown Lakes District Council to address the problem.''

The Industrial Pl site had space for 30 coaches, and cost $10 a night for BCA members and $17 for non-members.

Its distance from the town centre could be deterring some drivers from using it, but a more central location had not been available, Mr Kidd said.

‘‘We thought it was better to have it as an overflow, and even if it was used minimally, at least it helps to determine the level of the problem.

‘‘If people can't find anywhere to park, they wouldn't have a choice about it.''

Another factor was the council's update of information for drivers on where overnight parks were available.

‘‘The fact the [Industrial Pl site] is not being used more perhaps indicates there is parking available and that by providing better information, we're getting better utilisation of what was already there,'' Mr Kidd said.

Tourism Industry Association hotel sector regional representative Penny Clark said the resort's hotel managers had not formally discussed the issue.

But she welcomed a council move to review hotels' existing consent conditions relating to coach parks.

She could think of several hotels that appeared to have no on-site coach parks, and it was possible some were not abiding by their consents, Ms Clark said.

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