Ex-Queenstown mayor Warren Cooper and his wife Lorraine say they were astounded recently to wake up to find a commercial carpark smackbang next to them.
Wilson Parking NZ, which operates several CBD carparks, had erected a large sign and a payment machine in a fenced-off part of a vacant section.
Warren emailed mayor Jim Boult who, Lorraine says, was just as surprised and was going to report it to the council’s regulatory team.
“I was surprised it was done almost in a clandestine way,” she says.
“They should’ve had a resource consent, shouldn’t they?
“So therefore should we have been notified?”
Lorraine says they didn’t mind when a local realtor used the section for daytime worker parking, “but a public carpark is a different story”.
Warren adds their Park Street neighbourhood, though near the CBD, is “really residential, and we’ve got no ambitions to become part of a commercial area, whatsoever”.
“Council are now in a situation where, having done nothing whatsoever about parking since they were left with a generous amount of parking two decades ago, they have dissipated the lot and they’ve caused themselves a bite in the foot.
“The place is crying out for more parking, but if they think that Wilson [Parking] can be allowed to incrementally creep into other areas, then the council simply isn’t being seen as doing its job.”
This isn’t the first time the Coopers have had issues with their neighbouring property.
Three years ago, the section became a pop-up venue for about 30 freedom campers, before access was restricted.
And in 2006, Mountain Scene reported about 300 revellers turned up to a snow-ramp party.
At the time, Warren said he was less concerned about the “entertainment” than by the mess the partygoers left behind.
Meanwhile, near-neighbour Jay Cassells also isn’t impressed with Park St’s new carpark.
“This project’s a very poor and shortsighted image to visitors – one which says ‘we really don’t care about the place as long as there is a quid in it’.
“These ad hoc carparks are a further indictment of the continuing failure in planning for CBD traffic and parking.
“The town has been promised integrated planning for over a decade is coming, at least.”
Asked about the carpark, council spokesman Jack Barlow says its enforcement department “is aware of the matter and is currently investigating”.
Wilson Parking hadn’t responded to a request for comment by deadline.