OPINION: If opponents of Palmerston North's embattled paid parking system were hoping for a grand gesture from the city council, they would have been sorely disappointed.
On Monday night, Mayor Jono Naylor and his councillors "tinkered around the edges", as one Manawatu Standard Facebook user said when it came to addressing the growing concern and anger over a system that has continued to confuse and bewilder.
Of all the changes announced in a marathon meeting, the most practical is the one which extends the tolerance period from five to 10 minutes before a meter activates itself after it has expired.
However, that is only the tip of the iceberg.
The paid parking issue in Palmerston North is a multi-headed beast. It isn't only about people coming to terms with a new system.
Other considerations include attracting people to the inner city to shop, the seemingly rigid enforcement policy and even the time limits imposed on each space.
The ill feeling towards it all has clouded the real issues and some responsibility does need to fall with the people using the meters.
They have been in place for more than a year now and, while they are quite different from what used to be in place, there needs to be some level of acceptance that the system will be here for some time. There may be minor adjustments, but it's here to stay.
By announcing a review of parking charges, the council has, at the very least, acknowledged the wider issues, but those findings won't be known until well into next year. It doesn't solve any more problems. It simply puts them on the backburner.
In the meantime, there is enough of a groundswell of feeling that the parking saga will not go away. And with Christmas around the corner, it will only be amplified.
The council has missed an opportunity to silence critics and correct the flaws in the system. What do you think it should have done? We'd love to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or Text The Editor on 027 498 1242.
ONE MORE THING
It was touching to see the strong community support for Gino Carroll, the 10-year-old Bunnythorpe boy who has a brain tumour. The outpouring of love and kindness towards him and his family has been heartfelt and appreciated. Battling something like a brain tumour must be daunting, but Gino's attitude has been nothing short of brave. And remember, if you would like to help, there's a concert called Get Together For Gino, which will be held at the Feilding Civic Centre on December 8, from 7pm. Tickets can be booked at the Feilding Information Centre.
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