Richmond 'just a suburb' - Rainey
A council debate about parking has spilled into a wider discussion on the status of Nelson and Richmond.
It led to councillor Pete Rainey claiming that Richmond "really is just a suburb of Nelson".
Rainey made the comment when Nelson's parking issues came up at a council meeting last week.
He said later his comment was that Nelson, as a city rather than a suburb, offered more than the mall retail experience of Richmond.
"Richmond is essentially just a suburb of Nelson as it doesn't have the attributes of the city that we do. I'm not trying to be smart about it. It's true. Nelson does have a whole lot of facilities and attributes that brand it as being a place with more than just retail," he said.
"Over time people will realise that these are the things that make a city good and great and I am not knocking Richmond. I think it's a nice place, but what's attracting people to Richmond at the moment is sort of like shiny new things. They don't have longevity."
He said malls and big box retail did not make for quality in the long term - this had been shown around the world and he thought Nelson should focus on more than that.
Rainey supported the Nelson retail sector and any move to sustain and nurture it, but said the city had many things on offer that added to the shopping experience, which made it extra special.
Although parking was not free like Richmond it was "extremely cheap", he said.
A Tasman District Council spokesman declined to respond to Rainey's comments.
The Nelson council is set to put $100,000 forward to investigate parking initiatives to draw people into the city during the winter months and provide for any shortfalls in parking revenues as a result.
Councillor Gaile Noonan said nurturing retailers in Nelson was as much about parking as it was about people realising that if they did not get out and support local businesses they would lose them as part of the community.
Nelson mayor Rachel Reese put a few ideas on the table such as free parking for short periods on certain mornings, rewarding those shopping in the city with a parking rebate, or working with the bus service to encourage bus use to access the city's retail experience
Councillor Mike Ward said less punitive action was needed when it came to parking and it was about changing people's behaviour to reduce cars and encourage pedestrians in the city centre. He said more imagination was needed, as was making the inner city more attractive.
A variety of parking options will be explored by the council after the annual plan is signed off this month.
The Nelson Mail