Sun, Mar 10, 2024 12:00 PM

Parking fee hike proposed to free up Blenheim spaces


Maia Hart

The council wants to encourage workers within Blenheim's CBD to park on its periphery, rather than taking up car parks in town.

In order to do that, they’re looking to increase the cost to park in central car parks by 80 cents an hour, and limit how long people can stay for.

At the council’s long-term plan budget meeting on February 26, property and facilities manager Jamie Lyall said parking in the “core of the CBD” was close to capacity.

Analysis showed it had an occupancy of 82%, yet the outer edges of the CBD were unoccupied, and sat about 18% occupancy, he said.

He said the council was proposing to introduce three new parking zones.

“Hopefully that will shift the people that park in the middle of town, out to the outer areas of the CBD,” Lyall said.

The Marlborough District Council wants to increase the cost of parking in Blenheim’s CBD. SUPPLIED: STUFF

“It's probably, I think, more of a mindset in regards of walking to work.

“I recall years ago, when the railway station was free, the occupancy there was at 90%. So people are influenced by fees and also by time limit.

“So I think together we can get the right result and free up some of the parking in the CBD.”

The proposal, which would go out to the community for consultation under the council’s long-term plan, outlined the three zones.

Blenheim’s Wynen St car park. SUPPLIED: STUFF

Zone A (red), included High, Wynen and Queen Street car parks. This zone was proposed to increase from $1.20 per hour to $2 per hour with a time limit of four hours a day.

Zone B (white) included the Clubs of Marlborough car park, Kinross St car park and the Alfred St parking building. This zone was proposed to become all day car parks with the hourly fee increased to $1.50 an hour, or $6 a day.

Zone C (blue) was the Railway Station and Scott St car parks (beside Marlborough Public House and Event Cinema) and would continue as all day car parks. The fee was proposed to decrease by 20 cents an hour to $1, or $4 a day.

Meanwhile, there was also a “zone x” for street parking within the CBD, which was proposed to increase to $2 an hour.

First-hour free parking - introduced as a result of Covid-19 in a bid to encourage people into the CBD - would stay under the proposal.

“We’ve done some modelling, but the challenge with the modelling is that its assumptions are based on human behaviour,” Lyall said.

“At the moment it provides us with similar revenue.”

Figures showed the parking budget ran at a $39,000 surplus in the 23-24 year.

Deputy mayor David Croad said it was important to “test” the proposal with the community.

Deputy mayor David Croad said parks needed to be available for customers. SUPPLIED: STUFF

“The parking assessment indicates that we've got enough parking, we've just not got people parking in the right places,” Croad said.

“If I was a retailer in town, I would like my staff to be parking on the fringes to leave the parks available for the customers to come and spend with me.”

Lyall said the council had also recently issued a new tender for the parking enforcement services for the first time in seven years.

The Long Term Plan 2024/2034 would go out for public consultation from April 4 to May 6 and include public meetings and hearings, with dates and locations to be confirmed.

LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.

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