Kaiapoi residents left in dark over parking changes

Waimakariri district councillors are pumping the brakes on a parking restriction overhaul in Kaiapoi, because they suspect many affected residents are oblivious to the proposed changes.

This is despite claims from staff of positive feedback from locals and subsequent endorsements by the town’s community board.

Council staff have been sent back out to talk to residents, following concerns around the level of awareness and engagement around the changes, following a round of consultation last year.

Several changes to parking restrictions around Williams Street, Hilton Street and Raven Quay were recommended by council, including reductions from P120 to P60 in three areas, and increases in two areas, from P15 to P60 and P120 respectively.

The Kaiapoi-Tuawhi Community Board formally backed the changes at a February meeting after three weeks of community engagement in 2021.

But concerns were raised at last week’s District and Planning Regulation Committee meeting around council’s communication with residents during consultation on the plans.

Councillor Kirstyn Barnett queried why residential property owners — facing tougher parking restrictions on Ravens Quay — had been left in the dark, after council staff admitted it only canvassed views of businesses in the area.

"Why wouldn’t you notify the residents with a letter that there were proposed changes outside their houses."

Deputy mayor Neville Atkinson said there were businesses on Hilton Street who also "had no idea".

Between 60 to 70 flyers around the parking proposal were delivered to businesses and retailers in the CBD, a council report said.

Council business and centres advisor Vanessa Thompson said approaches were made to retailers and property owners "directly affected" by the changes, but some may have been missed.

Atkinson suggested another round of engagement with the community to avoid a "possible uproar".

Mayor Dan Gordon also had reservations and recommended further discussions with Kaiapoi locals.

The report said an online survey was also conducted around the changes, recording a total of 30 responses.

"Community feedback indicates that the six proposed parking restriction changes are generally supported with the majority share in favour."

Further feedback outlined frustration about a lack of consistent parking enforcement, but the matter was not specifically addressed by its recommendations.

-By Adam Burns
-Public interest journalism funded through NZ On Air

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