Paid Parking Letter to Wellington City Council
To the Mayor and Councillors,
As the national president of the Restaurant Association of New Zealand, I write on behalf of the association’s members to express our strong concern regarding the proposed increase of paid parking from $4 per hour to $5 per hour, and the proposed extension of paid parking to 8pm, Monday – Thursday and 10pm, Friday.
On- street parking is critical to supporting Wellington’s arts and entertainment industry, and we believe that increasing the cost and extending the time of paid parking will have a negative impact.
We appreciate the importance the Wellington City Council is putting on improving arts and entertainment within the city. However, we believe the paid parking increase and extension of paid parking hours is in contradiction to the draft Annual Plan. In section 3.2 Business Support, the WCC draft Annual Plan proposes the support and growth of the retail and entertainment districts, celebrate business creativity and that proposed cuts have been mindful to not jeopardise economic recovery and minimise impact. (p.53)
Increasing parking rates and extending the paid parking hours presents a direct charge on the patrons of these industries. This will have a negative impact, and undoubtedly jeopardise the economic situation of local business and will send more Wellingtonians to seek out retail and entertainment in Lower Hutt and Petone as expressed by Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ken Harris in the media release Wellington Business oppose parking fee increase (May, 3, 2011)
Seattle, Washington D.C and Austin, Texas have both experienced similar proposals and implementations from their city councils in the past 6 months. In both of these instances there was a strong resistance from small business owners, residents and those in arts and entertainment. Seattle revised their price hikes and an Austin City Council survey results showed that 81% who valued the existing parking system would be less likely to visit down town were the proposal put in place.
In Fayetteville, Arkansas the Council soon scaled back the hours of paid parking to provide immediate relief to local businesses who claimed a 30-40% loss in business as a result.
We are concerned this proposal will have a similar effect on Wellington business. Consider a couple going out on a Tuesday Night: $10 pizza special at a local restaurant and $20 double movie pass at Embassy or Reading. Their total cost is $30 for an evening’s entertainment. Add $10 for parking and their evening expenditure has increased by 33%.
The week night entertainment goers help maintain the revenue of the local restaurants and businesses that are so often commended for the arts and entertainment culture Wellington boasts. In extending the paid parking time this decision will directly impact the many arts and entertainment businesses that bring pedestrian vitality to the city centre.
We encourage the council to consider this proposal’s effects on both patrons and industry, and ultimately on the city if implemented. Wellington is the jewel in New Zealand’s crown; a vibrant and creative environment enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. It would be a shame to undo all the good work the Council and residents have done to achieve this.
Mike Egan - President of the Restaurant Association of New Zealand
Fayetteville – http://www.fayettevilleflyer.com/2010/09/22/changes-coming-to-paid-parking-plan/ http://www.fayettevilleflyer.com/2010/09/17/flyer-file-business-owners-want-immediate-paid-parking-changes/
Chamber of Commerce Media Release - http://www.wecc.org.nz/news-and-info/wellington-businesses-oppose-parking-fee-increases