GP: New office building denies parking spots for frail, elderly

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 28/12/2013

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Plans for a new office building in Invercargill have been revealed, but concerns have been raised about how the loss of 90 car parks at the site will impact on thousands of people, particularly the elderly and frail.

The car park on the corner of Don and Deveron streets was sold by the Invercargill City Council to Calder Stewart last year.

The company plans to build a two-level office building with 2000 square metres of space.

Invercargill GP Nick Terpstra said he was frustrated the council had sold the car park and he was now worried about the safety of his patients.

"People need short-term parking . . . I am concerned for mothers and little children, people dropping off the elderly, disabled, people with walking frames or wheelchairs. There is a lot of traffic going backwards and forwards," he said.

Dr Terpstra has practised from his building next to the car park for 35 years.

"Ten-thousand people come here each year, and that's just one doctor," said Dr Terpstra, who had counted 16 health-related businesses in Don St, some with no available car-parking.

"The older generation is particularly disadvantaged. It is a huge shame that, in their haste to improve the CBD, the council forgot that one block away, thousands of people come into this area each year to go to the doctor, then they go into town from here."

Dr Terpstra said not only would 90 parks be lost, but the new office building would create further need for parking with an influx of staff and new customers.

He was frustrated at lack of consultation from the council.

Council chief executive Richard King said the sale of a car park was not something council would consult on, and he was aware of Dr Terpstra's concern.

He said the car park was rarely full and there was other parking available in the area.

Vernon Aubrey, South Island general manager of Wilson Parking which operates the car park, said it was "really popular" and in an area where parking was tight.

Mr Aubrey said Wilson Parking was seeking an alternative car park site in the same area but it was proving difficult.

Calder Stewart development manager Kevin Arthur said the company hoped to start the consent application process for the new building early next year and have the building completed by the end of the year.

He was not willing to comment on the cost of development or which businesses had already signed up for the new space.

ASB Bank announced last week it would be moving into the new building in 2015.

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