Lack-of-parking peril

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By PHILIP CHANDLER

A major Queenstown landlord claims the council’s threatening the CBD’s viability by not replacing carparking lost in pending major roading projects.

Westwood Group Holdings’ Tony Butson says about 364 parks in the greater downtown area — or about 25% — will be permanently lost due to the arterial and CBD enhancement projects.

Further parking will be lost during construction, he adds.

In his submission on council’s application to construct a CBD bypass — from Melbourne Street to the Queenstown-Glenorchy Road intersection — Butson tells the Environmental Protection Auth ority a replacement parking plan needs to be included.

‘‘There is a real concern that if the arterial and/or CBD enhancement works precede the provision of necessary carparking, that long-term irreversible impacts will occur to the amenity and functioning of the Queenstown CBD.

‘‘The council runs a real risk that:
● local businesses either cease operation or relocate from the town centre; and
● that local residents and visitors can no longer conveniently visit the CBD.’’

Butson says council’s first priority should be to provide temporary peripheral parking, for example at Warren Park or the Lakeview site.

As the second priority, it needs to construct its proposed multi-storey parking buildings — a 242-space building at Boundary St and a 350-space one on Ballarat St — originally due to be completed last year and this year, respectively.

Butson tells Mountain Scene the council could also make existing parking free, ‘‘maybe for the first four hours’’.

He notes the CBD’s already lost temporary parking due to the wastewater project.

Asked if council’s push for people to bus into town makes parking less important, he says ‘‘it doesn’t suit everyone to get on a bike or a bus’’.

He gives the examples of parents having to pick up kids after school and those needing their cars for work.

Butson’s submission also points out council’s district plan and town centre masterplan acknowledge CBD parking’s vital to the visitor experience and district’s prosperity.

‘Exploring options’

Council spokesman Jack Barlow says it’s exploring a range of CBD parking options, ‘‘including short-term options to provide additional capacity as the town centre goes through a series of upgrade works’’.

All proposals, including the Boundary St and Ballarat St parking buildings, will be workshopped by councillors next month, ahead of being reported formally to council, he says.

He adds: ‘‘Council has a stated long-term objective increasing the availability and use of both public transport and active travel options, and it’s important not to undermine what
has been an increasing use of these modes.’’

Barlow says staff are reviewing controls on evening parking ‘‘to make this more accessible in the light of Covid-19’’.

‘‘Controlled evening parking was introduced some years ago following pressure from the
hospitality industry to ensure spaces for diners were available into the evenings; the
same pressure is not currently there and accordingly we are looking at options in this space.’’

scoop@scene.co.nz