Call for parking protest
Business owners have issued a call to arms to disgruntled parkers, asking anyone who has a grievance against Palmerston North's controversial parking system to show their discontent by packing out a council meeting next week.
A group of businesspeople, spearheaded by former deputy mayor John Hornblow, will present a petition calling for a review of the city's parking system at the council's finance and performance committee meeting on Monday.
They will also have speaking rights to let the committee - made up of city councillors and mayor Jono Naylor - know what they think of the much-maligned parking meter system.
Residents and visitors to the city have complained about a number of issues with the system since its introduction last year, including difficulties operating its interface and a spike in the number of tickets being issued.
Yesterday, business owners Ralph Bare and Gabrielle Bundy-Cooke had managed to collect more than 1800 signatures for the petition.
"We have not gone on the street. People have been coming into our businesses and signing this," Mrs Bundy-Cooke said. "If we went out with clipboards, I'm sure we would have many more."
The parking system had driven people away from town, she said.
"People now know Palmerston North is not a comfortable place to come and shop any more."
That attitude had become especially obvious because of the time of year, she said.
"It's two weeks before Christmas and the place is dead.
"Someone came in and said they had the pick of 12 car parks up George St.
"We should be buzzing, but it's not."
Mr Bare said he hoped a big crowd would turn up to the meeting to vent their frustrations.
"They can bring placards, be vocal and let [council] know what the city thinks."
He said he hoped enough people turned up to pack out the council chambers.
Mr Naylor said the general public was welcome to attend the meeting, where the business owners would be given 10 minutes to express their views.
However, most people had a good grasp on the parking gripes, he said.
"Council know about most of the issues now, but if they have any new concerns they haven't brought up it would be useful."
Mr Naylor said 1800 signatures was "quite a few", but was unsure if it was a good result or not.
"I don't know what to compare it to. We don't get many petitions."
But the petition had shown people had an opinion about the system, and all feedback was being taken on board, he said.
"We have heard submissions and have put together a working party to go forward. We are already starting to respond."
Mr Naylor said part of that response included extending the tolerance period from five to 10 minutes before a meter was activated and after it had expired.