Business owners call for 'user-friendly' car parks

Finding a park can be a challenge in Waimakariri’s town centres. Photo: David Hill
Finding a park can be a challenge in Waimakariri’s town centres. Photo: David Hill
Car parking needs to be more "accessible and user-friendly", say Rangiora and Kaiapoi business owners.

The Waimakariri District Council is planning to develop parking management plans for the district’s two main town centres over the next 12 to 18 months.

Kaiapoi Promotions Association acting chairperson Martin Pinkham said parking has not been adequately provided for as the town centre has developed.

Mr Pinkham said the situation was ‘‘complicated’’ as the main shopping area was centred on the town’s main access route, Williams Street, which had around 15,000 vehicle movements a day.

‘‘People who are a bit older don’t like parking in the main street because they don’t feel safe.’’

He said the car park behind the Ruataniwha Kaiapoi Civic Centre and Library was often full, while the recent commercial developments to the north of the river were developed without adequate parking.

New sub-divisions such as Silverstream and Sovereign Palms were several kilometres from the town centre and there was no viable public transport system to provide connections.

Mr Pinkham suggested a shuttle service could be introduced to support the growth in Kaiapoi and Rangiora.

Rangiora’s town centre also has its challenges, but local business owner Karl Howarth said there were good parking options, for now.

‘‘I don’t think there is a massive issue with parking at the moment,’’ Mr Howarth said.

‘‘But we want to keep a vibrant town centre and we don’t have a viable public transport service, so people are reliant on their cars.’’

He said a parking building needed to be part of the council’s long term planning.

Speaking at last week’s council meeting, the council’s strategy and programme senior advisor Heike Downie said $80,000 has been set aside in the 2024/34 Long Term Plan to develop the parking management plans.

She said the National Policy Statement for Urban Development removed the requirement for private developers to provide parking, which placed pressure on existing parking supply.

The potential for a parking building in Rangiora was identified in the council’s North of High Street Development Plan, developed following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

Council staff have already held workshops with the Kaiapoi-Tuahiwi and Rangiora-Ashley community boards and planned to engage with local businesses over the next few months.

A community survey was also planned, Ms Downie said.

A Southbrook (Rangiora) development plan is also in the pipeline.

The council also plans to begin conversations with the Oxford-Ohoka and Woodend-Sefton community boards about parking needs.

By David Hill, Local Democracy Reporter

■ LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.