Mayor rules out changes to parking

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times

Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan has ruled out any changes to on-street parking in the city, saying it plays a “minor” part in attracting shoppers into the CBD.

Mr Brennan said he was not in favour of several suggestions from Bunbury business owners and workers, including Commercial Realty sales and leasing director Geoff Hill, to make on-street parking in the CBD free for a short period and paid after the first or second hour.

A survey by the Bunbury Herald of 30 CBD businesses conducted last week found a little more than half did not support paid on-street parking, with 17 against and 13 for it.

The majority of those against the existing parking rules instead supported the idea of free one or two hour ticketed parking.

Those which supported paid parking mostly said it caused no problems and encouraged a faster turnover of shoppers.

Brazen Boutique owner of 16 years Lynne Snare said she was strongly against paid parking on CBD streets.

She believed paid parking was having a negative impact on shopping.

“I have customers come in and say ‘I can’t stay long, my ticket’s going to run out’,” Ms Snare said.

“Less customers year after year and the writing is on the wall.”

Mr Brennan said he had previously received advice on the issue and was confident parking was a “small component” of why businesses may move out of the CBD.

“There has been less pedestrian traffic as these other (neighbourhood) supermarkets have come on stream,” Mr Brennan said.

“On the other hand, some hospitality places are doing really, really well.”

He said he had “reservations” about suggestions to change parking to allow for a short free period.

“I think people who will park there for free won’t necessarily be shoppers,” he said.

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