Rewards system mulled for parking

LAURA BASHAM
Last updated 12:58 17/06/2014

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Uniquely Nelson wants a parking rewards for purchase scheme introduced to the central city.

The Nelson City Council is urgently looking at options to introduce two-hours free parking, or paying for time parked on exit. The move comes as city retailers struggle to compete with Richmond where there is free parking.

Nelson city mayor Rachel Reese hopes to introduce changes by July 1.

She said she was now reviewing the information and a report recommending significant changes would come to the council on June 26.P

"The approach will not just be parking but that will be part of an immediate response."

Inner city promotions group Uniquely Nelson manager Cathy Madigan said retailers needed an immediate reprieve over winter with free daily parking.

As a second step there needed to be a long-term strategy and the group favoured exploring ways to offer parking rewards for purchase, such as getting a parking fee rebate when shoppers showed a purchase receipt.

She noted there was some opposition to boom gates at parking squares as there was a feeling that they held people up and could be a hassle.

However, a mechanism that let people pay when they exited, allowing them to stay as long as they wanted so they could spend more time in the city was desirable, she said.

Madigan said free winter parking needed to be available daily. The experience of free parking on Tuesdays only had proved too confusing. "It's not effective unless you do it every day."

She was not advocating that as permanent long term.

"We all know the revenue has to come from somewhere and with parking you need to encourage a turnover in summer.

"Short term, winter is cold and tough and free parking is something we can do in the interim."

Madigan said the issue had never been about the dollars. "The issue is more about people not wanting to get a ticket."

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- The Nelson Mail

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