$1.3m parking surplus

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A near-$1.3 million surplus from Queenstown Lakes District Council parking facilities in the past financial year will be spent on projects aimed at getting more people out of their cars.

The council’s infrastructure committee will meet tomorrow to approve the reallocation of the windfall to three new projects.

A report by transport strategy manager Tony Pickard said parking revenue was $2.4 million in the 2017-18 year, including on-street and off-street parking and rentals.

That was about $974,000 above budget, while parking costs had been only about $53,000 higher than expected.

The resulting $921,000 surplus, on top of the $351,000 surplus already budgeted for, has given the council an unexpected war chest for spending on, in council jargon, “further encouragement to modal shift” – in other words, getting people out of their cars and on to buses, bikes or their feet.

Of the surplus, $950,000 will be spent on new, higher-spec bus shelters with seating and features such as ski racks, bike racks, litter bins and lighting.

Existing shelters will also be upgraded.

Another $200,000 will be spent on comprehensive new transport network maps, initially for Queenstown, Frankton and Wanaka, but eventually the whole district.

The remaining $50,000 will be spent on improving the quality of transport information on the council’s website.

The boost in parking revenue follows a crackdown on parking in the CBD, including hiking charges and reducing the total number of available parking spaces.

An increase in parking fees in the CBD came into effect last December, daily and weekly charges at council-owned car parks were scrapped in April, and a four-hour maximum stay was introduced at the Queens-town Gardens and One Mile car parks.