Council changes: New fees

Business owners are fronting up over City Hall’s decision to scrap permit parking – and one describes the change as “devastating”.

Body Sanctum owner Judi Sneddon says the new charges, which apply from Sunday, will leave her out of pocket and impact her mobile massage business.

Daily and weekly rates are being scrapped at council-owned carparks, while a four-hour maximum stay will apply at Queenstown Gardens and One Mile.

It’s the final phase of plans to change parking habits in the CBD.

The permit changes apply to 190 spaces, 75 percent of which are allocated to businesses, including Mountain Scene

Sneddon is trying to find a solution but says it’s “very frustrating”.

IT firm Focus, which uses a mix of permit and weekly parking for its 12 engineers, also expects difficulties.

Staffer Karen Iremonger says its core business depends on getting to jobs quickly – and grabbing gear on the way.

“We have modelled using the bus – but we can’t meet business needs with the bus service, it is not practical in our line of work.”

leases two and boss Graham Budd says the change isn’t ideal.

“We haven’t found a solution yet and it is a bit frustrating as it will cost us significantly more.”

Sneddon admits businesses have been getting a sweet deal, $45 per car, per month, at Ballarat Street carpark.

But DowntownQT boss Steve Wilde sides with council. He doesn’t think City Hall should have to stump up for cheap parking.

“That is actually ratepayers subsidising carparks, really that’s what it comes down to.

“I think all the businesses paying $40 a month would be saying, ‘well, that is not right’, because that is public land that is being sort of rented on the cheap.”

Sneddon, whose staffers regularly move in and out of the CBD for bookings, doesn’t agree.

She may not be able to hire seasonal staff to meet increased demand at peak times, she adds.

Council should have considered upping fees, rather than a blanket ban, she says.

Council infrastructure boss Peter Hansby wasn’t available to respond by deadline to specific Mountain Scene questions.

But mayor Jim Boult, in a council press release, ack-nowledges parking changes aren’t always popular.

He says they need to be made, however.

“We’ve made it clear from the outset that in order to have a subsidised and affordable bus service in Queenstown, we needed to make some changes to parking in the CBD.”