Hot debate expected over CBD parking
Debate is expected to flare tonight as Bunbury City Council prepares to make significant changes to its parking strategy.
The Bunbury Herald understands the Retail Co – a group made up of some of the city’s business owners – will present at least one deputation on the proposed changes.
While the council spent about an hour debating the changes during a briefing session last week, it is again expected to discuss the topic in depth tonight.
The changes recommended include on-street paid parking to be free for one hour, visitor shopper carparks to be increased to three-hour time limits and no time limits or parking tickets on weekends and public holidays.
The council is also expected to allocate $151,800 from its General Parking Reserve to make the changes, including replacing or modifying about 300 city signs.
Mayor Gary Brennan described the changes as a “very good compromise” and said he believed it was as much as the council could do to help business owners.
Some members of the Retail Co are calling for on-street parking to be bumped up to two hours free.
“Some of the CBD businesses are stressed, there’s no question about that ... I understand that, appreciate it and respect it,” Mr Brennan said.
“So what we asked is ‘what can the council do to assist those businesses, try and improve their turnover, attract more customers or keep them here longer’.
“I believe that (parking changes) is as much as the city council can do.
“Some retailers will be unhappy about that, they think we should go to two hours free, I don’t support that position and I don’t think it’s going to make any difference at all.”
He said the changes would complement Bunbury MLA Don Punch’s commitment of $70,000 to help revitalise the CBD.
Mr Punch would not say whether he supported two-hour free street parking, but did say he supported the review into the strategy.
“I have supported one hour free on-street parking in the CBD but have heard the retailers call for two hours free,” Mr Punch said.
“It is clear some free on-street parking in the CBD is a priority and I support the debate regarding the length of the free period.”
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