Council clamps down on park painting prank

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 09:00 19/04/2014
ryan james
MURRAY WILSON
TECHNICALLY WRONG: Ryan James’ attempt at injecting a little humour into car parking has fallen flat with the city council.

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Palmerston North Burger Fuel franchisee Ryan James' attempts to spread a bit of fun in Fitzherbert Ave have sparked a city council demand to pull his stencils in.

For about eight years, around the time students return to the city, he has been painting his trademark on a handful of car parks outside the restaurant. One, where he parks his distinctive company-coloured Charger, is technically reserved for Burger Fuel. Those on the street are stamped, "Not technically reserved for Burger Fuel".

James said the temporary paint jobs were just a bit of fun.

It provoked a little bit of interest in an area that was a gateway to the central city, but was quite featureless with a delivery depot on one side and the back wall of K-mart on the other, and empty car parks in between.

His stunt had never been a problem until this year. The council has received complaints.

Roading manager Graeme Tong said some people thought the parks were reserved, so parked elsewhere, and others thought they did not have to pay parking fees, and got tickets. "What has happened here is a marketing stunt which has caused issues with some residents."

So James has been asked to remove the markings within a week, or the council will do it for him, and send the bill for $138. He said he would do it, but was disappointed with the council's response.

"I'm trying to come up with nice ideas, and the only people taking exception are from the council."

James said it was doubly hard to believe he was in trouble for interfering with car parks, when retailers in George St had been allowed to take over a parking space and turn it into a planter box.

That project had been part of a council-encouraged placemaking initiative, which was supported by DIY kits that included a "get out of jail free" card for participants who accidentally broke council rules in their enthusiasm.

Tong said Burger Fuel had not been part of a placemaking team, and had not had council advice on what was allowed. "We would welcome Burger Fuel and other Fitzherbert Ave businesses to get involved with placemaking. Given Fitzherbert Ave is one of the main entrance points to The Square, we'd more than welcome businesses in that area of town coming on board."

Editorial, Page 11

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