Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 12:25 pm
Press Release: Heart PR
The retailers of Ashburton behind the free parking campaign will meet with the Ashburton District Council to present their case along with signed petitions on Thursday July 7th.
They will propose one hour free parking along all streets in the CBD. They will also suggest use of Smart Parking technology which allows parking to be monitored with the accuracy of sensors, decreasing the workload and cost of warden staff. The technology is used by Taupo and Rotorua district councils. Scott Devonport of Taupo district council says, “We focus not on revenue gathering but on parking turnover. It’s a different way of thinking and it works extremely well for us”.
Hutt City Council trialled free parking in 2015 to rejuvenate its dwindling retail scene and due to the success has installed free parking as part of its 2016/17 district plan.
The Free Parking for Ashburton cause has gained over 1100 likes on their Facebook page. The online arm of its petition is on its way to its next milestone of 500 signatures.
Large posters can now be seen on shop windows throughout the CBD calling for more signatures on the petitions. They can be signed either online at Change.org or in stores.
The online petition and Facebook pages have gathered over eighty comments from residents and visitors who are disgruntled with the current parking system and support free parking.
Comments range from people disillusioned with the pay and display meters, to those unhappy with the cost. While some argue that people should walk from the West Street car-parks, others say it is not easy crossing the railway line for the vulnerable in the community, such as stroke victims, senior citizens, or parents with very young or sick children.
One retailer said that travelling business people often comment that Ashburton has the worst parking.
On Thursday June 23rd, Tony Todd from retail store Todds of Ashburton found that a near-by PAD machine was not accepting coins and had a queue of five people behind it, one of whom was on a walking aid. “Four of them drove off”, he said.