PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
In less than a week a new Free Parking for Ashburton Facebook page gained over 400 supporters and is nearing 200 signatures on its Change.org online petition
The list of signatures on petitions in Ashburton CBD stores also continues to grow.
The Free Parking for Ashburton Petition says, “Small town retail is doing it tough nowadays. Retailers are integral to the community and culture of the wider district. That's why Ashburton retailers are lobbying the Ashburton District Council to provide free parking for shoppers to revive their CBD. They are leading the charge for regional centres across New Zealand.
Access to the heart of a small town needs to be free so that it is non-discriminatory, easy and stress-free for the community it serves. Rural people, elderly, disabled, mothers, children, business people and visitors all need quick, easy access to the town centre to keep it alive. Parking in its current state is stressful, confusing and prohibitive”.
A “Parking difficulty in Ashburton” Facebook poll uncovered that the pay and display meters were the most difficult factor of parking in Ashburton’s CBD. The next most difficult factor in regards to parking in Ashburton was cost.
What do you find MOST DIFFICULT about Ashburton's CBD parking?
The pay and display meters
ranking: 1.9 / 5
ranking: 2.8 / 5
The time limit
ranking: 3.2 / 5
ranking: 3.4 / 5
The lollipop meters
ranking: 3.8 / 5
Free parking supporter comments aligned with the results found in the poll.
From Change.org, “I'm signing because pay and display is far too expensive. I always park down a side street these days. I'm with the business owners all the way. The council are far too money hungry with no concern whatsoever for the community” writes Sharon Dickens of Ashburton.
From Change.org, “Half the time the tickets don't work. Also with all the online shopping available these days we need to support our local retailers and make it easy and inexpensive for people to park near the shops” writes Shona Mcgrath of Ashburton.
Some supporters highlighted that other small towns have changed over to free parking:
From Change.org, “NCC introduced first hour free on their meters. This has revitalised the CBD. You still need to get a coupon from the parking machine but you can select the first hour free. Keep New Zealand like New Zealand. Parking in small towns must be free, it costs nothing to provide it!”, writesKeith Langham of Nelson.
From Change.org, “Rotorua district council made parking free a few years ago and it was the best thing for the town and the retail shops!!! Follow suite Ashburton!!” – from Renee Hallidayof Ashburton.
Meanwhile the campaigners are speaking with other councils and retailers in regional New Zealand to find out their parking systems. They are looking at new technologies and different ways to offset the loss in revenue by providing free parking to shoppers. They will be taking their findings and report to the next council meeting.
For more comments please visit this petition link:https://www.change.org/p/ashburton-district-council-free-parking-for-ashburton-shoppers-fd278de5-9be9-440b-901a-ddf524710cff?recruiter=554045276&utm_source
For the Facebook page please visit: https://www.facebook.com/freeparkingashburton/