QLDC to chop free parking


60 free Brecon St spots may go to fuel public transport plan.

Queenstown Lakes Dist­­rict Council is looking to chop “quite a number” of free long-term CBD parking spaces to boost bus travel.

About 60 unrestricted slots in the Brecon Street area are already being eyed up to be turned into four-hour parking zones.

The move would further affect commuters who are increasingly being forced out to the fringes of town for all-day free parking.

Long-term, the CBD parking cutback could also fuel QLDC’s idea of a 500-space underground carpark to anchor its long-awaited new Town Hall – officially labelled the “Remarkables Centre”.

The cutback was discussed at a pre-Christmas meeting of the steering group for the Wakatipu Transportation Strategy – an amalgam of QLDC, Otago Regional Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency.

QLDC transport boss Denis Mander says turning Brecon St spaces into four-hour-maximum areas is part of an ongoing council review of CBD on-street parking.

But he insists shoppers or short-term visitors won’t be affected and any axed free parking would be offset by improved public transport.

“Part of the rationale for parking management is that the less parking there is available in the CBD, the more impetus there will be for people to use public trans­port,” he says.

“But there has to be a good public transport system in place before you do that, otherwise the impact will be to reduce the accessibility of the CBD.”

Mander goes on: “One of the things that the Wakatipu Transportation Strategy is trying to do is make Queenstown easier for visitors to get into.

“A key issue, though, is the impact that has on commuters – people who have always been able to come into town and park.”

Mander says ORC – responsible for public transport – is looking at introducing new measures including extended bus services “around November this year or February next year”.

He adds: “If we are to rely on public transport, it would have to be far more improved than what we have.”
Mander also won’t rule out some of the resort’s existing open carparks disappearing.

“At the moment we have a number of open carparks, the likes of Ballarat St and Boundary St, and at some point there’s always the prospect they could be developed on,” he says.

“Boundary St is one of the sites being considered for a council building and Ballarat St is where there has been a proposal for the Remarkables Centre [Town Hall complex].

“So that may or may not impact on the amount of carparking available in the CBD.”