Queenstown’s CBD parking scene has turned into a battle zone.
The rulers are enforcing the war and the working folk are being swooped on by tourists.
These days if you haven’t locked and loaded a park by 8.30am, your hopes of finding one in the CBD are pretty much shot.
Last Wednesday, despite giving myself plenty of time, I was muscled out of the Boundary Street carpark.
I snuck in the entrance where I and my carpooling colleague watched the front-liners attempt to outwit and out-manoeuvre each other in a quest for the increasingly elusive parking spaces.
I drove past two long lines of empty parks – the ‘large campervan parks’.
I retreated to another area but had no luck.
Instead, in defeat, I was 30 minutes late for work, having had to park on the other side of town.
A couple of weeks back, Queenstown’s council kindly killed more than 60 regular carparks in the Boundary St carpark to make room for 33 big caravan parks.
Give-way signs and directional lines have been added, none of which are used.
A trial they say. Another bloody trial. A loophole for hope.
Just like the pedestrianisation of Beach St trial. And the flat roundabout outside Starbucks trial. Both seem to have been shoe-horned into permanence.
The reality seems clear – they’ve painted the lines, it’s a done deal.
The council’s idea to force people out of cars remains quite a mystery to me – where are the decent alternatives?
Public transport is a joke in this town. Having to pay about $6.50 from the Z garage on Frankton Road into the CBD is an insult and Queenstown is too far spread out to think that everyone can bike or carpool.
It’s all useless to me anyway. As a commuter from Wanaka it would be a stretch to think I could bike or bus here.
Think back to the long-awaited park and ride scheme, which was canned the week of the elections. This also fell into the category of ‘Great in theory, not in reality’.
I’m all for everyone jumping on their bikes each morning to get to work, but it’s so unrealistic.
Councillor Alexa Forbes, chairwoman of the infrastructure committee, says better, cheaper public transport is in the pipeline but when that will come into play is “the million dollar question”.
So we’re making room for more money in this town – the tourists – which is necessary and important to our resort, I understand that.
But tell me this: where the hell are the people who run this town supposed to park? Those who work at The Station Building, banks, retail stores, bars and the cafes. The ones who make Queenstown tick.
I mustn’t forget to mention that the council did add another 60 parks to the underground parking building on Church St to counteract the killed parks in Boundary St.
But Church St’s parks are between $5 and $10 per day, compared to $2.50.
For those of us who ration our money, spare cash is as rewarding as Donald Trump losing the US election.
If the inside parks remained at the lower price, it would have helped.
There’s property on Park St and the top of Stanley St that’s empty – couldn’t that property be leased and gravelled by the council, with an almighty NO CAMPERVANS ALLOWED sign plastered across the entrance?
Alternatively, parking fines and fees could be cut while locals put that money into building a zipline for commuters from Lake Hayes into town.
At this rate, it wouldn’t take long to fund.