Huge increase in parking tickets

An increased focus on parking enforcement in Wanaka has resulted in a huge jump in the number of parking tickets issued during the holiday period.

Since December 19, the Queenstown Lakes District Council has issued 2148 parking infringement notices in the Wanaka area.

Only 54 were issued in the same period the year before.

An increase in tourist and resident numbers has put pressure on parking along the lakefront and other attractions in the area, and a long-term solution is in the planning stages.

The council’s regulatory manager Lee Webster said there had been an increased focus on managing the increased demand for parking during the holiday period.

There were more parking enforcement officers "on the ground" in Wanaka,  hence the increased number of notices.

Two enforcement officers were now employed in the town and  one spent half their time on animal control.

Previously there had only been one officer, whose time was split between parking and animal control.

Mr Hall said he was not surprised by the large number of tickets.

"We know over the summer period we get a influx of people into Wanaka  ... and we are focusing on stopping people parking in those areas we don’t want them to."

It was likely the tickets were issued to a mixture of locals and tourists, he said.

An overflow parking area was opened at the A&P showgrounds just before Christmas as a temporary measure but was not used as much as the council had anticipated.

It  closed yesterday. The council’s principal enforcement officer, Anthony Hall, said the council’s promotion of the area could have been better and it would look at ways the service could be improved in the future.

Vehicles were parked in the area but not in high numbers, Mr Hall said.

The showgrounds could be used again for parking if it was needed.

Queenstown Lakes District Council Deputy Mayor Calum McLeod was surprised at the number of tickets issued, but said there was little point in comparing it with the previous year’s figure, as there as little parking enforcement then.

He said the council recognised parking on Wanaka’s lakefront was an issue and it was a high priority.

"But in saying that, I know a lot of drivers won’t walk more than 100m to wherever they are going and won’t use the car parks council has provided."

Lake Bar manager Megan McKenzie said staff from the Ardmore St waterfront bar were ticketed many times over the period for parking on the grass at the lakefront.

She said they did not know there was an overflow car park at the A&P Showgrounds until recently, and felt more could have been done more to make people aware of it.

The younger staff would not have used it, anyway, she said.

"We’ve got employees who are under 18 years old and it’s too dangerous for them to walk across Pembroke Park to the showgrounds at 12 o’clock at night. To be honest, there just aren’t enough car parks in Wanaka," she said.

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