Companies in Wellington are worried about the end of free parking on weekends



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The mayor of Wellington, Justin Lester, says that retailers advocate the change because all free parks are used.

A decision to cancel the weekend parking in the center of Wellington has divided business, and it was meant to help.

On Thursday, the city strategy committee of the city council of Wellington voted 12 against 3, and approved the regulation.

On Friday, however, retailer representatives expressed concern about the move.

CBD stores are divided over the decision of the Wellington City Council to introduce tariffs for weekend parking places.

CHRIS SKELTON / STUFF

CBD stores are divided over the decision of the Wellington City Council to introduce tariffs for weekend parking places.

The proposal for weekend parking fees in the central city was part of Mayor Justin Lester's plan to keep the rates affordable and was included in the Council's long-term plan 2018-2028 (LTP) which was approved in June.

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Council documents say that the retail sector in the central city was attractive to the shoppers and there was a high demand for parking spaces, so the purpose of the compensation was to stimulate the turnover of parking spaces.

Wellington Chamber of Commerce CEO John Milford said the decision to introduce weekend parking fees in ...

DAVID WHITE / STUFF

Wellington Chamber of Commerce executive John Milford said that the decision to restore the parking fee at Wellington weekend was made in the dark.

Retail New Zealand general director of public affairs Greg Harford said the move did not have the full support of retailers.

After the decision, retailers expressed their concerns about keeping shoppers away from the CBD and encouraging them to shop in shopping centers.

Retail NZ had not taken an official position on the original proposal because membership was so divided, he said.

So it had not given any support for the accusations, as could be suggested, he said.

Wellington Chamber of Commerce CEO John Milford said members 50/50 were divided on the charges and shared the same concerns about discouraging CBD shopping.

"We have been parking for free for so long, it was ours [Wellington CBD] point of difference. "

It enabled central companies to compete with shopping centers. Now retailers and horeca companies feared the impact of change, he said.

"The decision to restore weekend parking fees in Wellington was made in the dark."

He advocates research into how Wellingtonians use their city parks to be released.

Retail New Zealand general director of public affairs Greg Harford said the members were very divided, so the decision was not ...

ROBERT CHARLES / STUFF

Retail New Zealand general director of public affairs Greg Harford said the members were very divided, so the decision did not have the full support of retailers.

It was a controversial topic with arguments on both sides, but the council should substantiate its position by publishing the report promised several years ago, he said.

Lester said he was there, which would be good for the retail trade.

The data would be made public with the results of an up-to-date assessment of parking spaces.

The council agreed that the situation would be monitored and the data reviewed, to see if it worked, in time for the next annual plan, he said.

Retail strategist Chris Wilkinson, of First Retail Group, said that consumers made shorter visits and wanted the convenience and greater certainty of availability.

The symbolic charge on the weekend would probably help achieve that, while people can still stay for up to two hours if they want to, he said.

In discussions with retailers and companies there was general recognition for the value of levies, but also a hesitation in the way consumers would react.

The outpouring of sentiment since the decision is what many would have expected would happen, he said.

"It is not surprising that the parking decision was seen by many as a negative point for the city center, but from a commercial point of view we recognize that the turnover in parks supports a larger visitation that also stimulates sales, as was the case in other large city centers. around the world and is likely to happen here too. "

Parking enforcement on the weekend starts on 8 September after the regulation has been stamped by the council on Wednesday.

However, it is clear that it will not be a simple vote and that councilors can discuss it again.

Parking fees are implemented on weekends in certain areas between 08.00 and 18.00.

The cost of $ 2.50 per hour will be charged in all areas (2638 parks) with a weekday rate of $ 3 and up and a rate of $ 1.50 per hour in all outlying areas (358 parks) with a weekday rate of less than $ 3.

– Stuff


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