Munted car parks 'killing CBD'

2500 new spaces needed, says Antony Gough

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 17:45 16/05/2014
Manchester St car park
Kirk Hargreaves/Fairfax NZ
MUNTED: Casual parking on an empty site opposite the empty, quake-damaged car park on the corner of Manchester and Gloucester streets.
Antony Gough
John Kirk-Anderson/Fairfax NZ
ADVOCATE: The city doesn't need "a gold-plated car park", said Antony Gough, just fixed ones.

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The city's car park buildings need to be urgently fixed to avoid killing the central city, says the Central City Business Association.

Chairman Antony Gough told Christchurch City councillors that as the rebuild gathered speed, car parking would become a major issue.

"The CBD retail precinct is no different to a very large suburban mall. If a suburban mall did not provide adequate parking for its customers it would die," he said.

"Don't give us a gold-plated car park, just patch the old one folks."

He said the central business district needed 2500 off-street carparks if it was to compete with the suburbs, and the three years of procrastination on fixing or replacing Lichfield and The Crossing car parks had to be addressed urgently.

Gough said an anonymous investor was willing to cough up about $10m to fast-track the reopening of a central city parking building.

"He will pay for fixing the Lichfield St car park," Gough said. "It makes no difference to your pockets."

Gough did not name the investor, but acknowledged Mayor Lianne Dalziel was aware of who he was.

The property developer also talked about how the CCBA would work between the private sector and council to restore business in the city's heart.

Annually the council provided $150,000 to the CCBA, but this coming year it will be reduced to $100,000.

Gough said the CCBA would be able to operate within that amount for the 2014/15 year, but to a "lesser level".

He said the city was in "uncharted waters" post-earthquake, and the CBD needed help to re-establish itself.

"Every year that passes without a trading CBD allows more urban sprawl and means it will take longer to get our CBD strong again."

Gough pleaded with councillors to "not take your eye off the CBD ball".  

He said the CCBA was building a network of businesses which was important in terms of attraction and retention of occupants in the CBD.

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- The Press

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