Parking charges likely to be introduced across Hagley Park

A plan to charge motorists who use the car parking areas inside Hagley Park has been put to Christchurch city councillors.

The proposal would see parking fees introduced across more than 600 car parks in the recreational green space, including at the Botanic Gardens Armagh St and Riccarton Ave car parks.

The plan, which has been added to the city council's draft Long Term Plan, was widely debated by city councillors at their meeting on Wednesday.

While some wanted the first hour of parking free, others called for weekends to be free. But some councillors supported charging for parking seven days a week.

The car parking areas are heavily used by Christchurch Hospital workers and people who work in the central city.

The city council would generate $2 million a year if it charged $4.60 for three hours across 620 car parks.

Motorists may soon have to pay to park at the  Armagh Street Car Park. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Motorists may soon have to pay to park at the Armagh Street Car Park. Photo: Geoff Sloan
City councillor Aaron Keown said: "I'm happy with the original (draft recommendation) that we don't make it free on weekends.

"It's not free to park outside the library or the hospital on weekends so consistency."

During consultation on the LTP, about 1100 people provided feedback on the proposal, with 43 per cent opposing the charges, 30 per cent supporting them and 19 per cent suggesting alternatives.

City council head of parks Andrew Rutledge said the main purpose of the car parks in Hagley Park was to support recreation.

"We do get a lot of frustration, particularly in school holidays, when people are trying to take their kids to the Botanic Gardens and the car parks are already full of people that know they can come to work, park in the Botanic Gardens car park, walk through the gardens and come to work."

He suggested the cost would need to be cheaper than on-street parking to avoid deterring people from using the park for sport and recreation.

"We need to find a balance."

Councillors will vote on the recommendations for the Hagley Park car parks next month.

- By Geoff Sloan, made with the support of NZ On Air