Thanks Rotorua District Council for our free carparking spaces.
From tomorrow to Christmas Eve, people visiting the central city won't have to pay for their parking for a maximum of two hours.
The idea has been bandied about during the past few weeks as a way of getting more people back into the central city.
On the face of it, it's a great idea because the central city competes with the Central Mall's free carparking. But I'm not sure the next 12 days is the right time to do it if the sole purpose is to bring more people into our empty streets.
The two weeks before Christmas is generally madness for most people. For those of us not organised with our Christmas shopping, we'll be making mad dashes to town whenever we can squeeze it in to grab last minute presents.
For most of us, parking free of charge or having to pay won't even come into the equation. Having somewhere to park will be the priority.
My worry is more workers will park outside their shops, despite 120 free parks for retail workers being made available in the carparking building on Pukuatua St.
I'm also convinced town will be busy anyway at this time of year so to use this as a trial to see if free parking will bring more people into the CBD is a little strange.
However, it's a great gesture by the council right before Christmas, especially considering it will cost between $20,000 and $30,000 in lost parking fine revenue and about $3000 in marketing and promotion costs.
The council has a few other ideas under way to try to influence a more vibrant central city, including developments at Eat Streat and the Walkable City concept.
Every effort must be made to ensure our central city doesn't die. The number of empty shops has been a growing concern this year but it's great to see our local council on the front foot trying to do something about it.
Whether you agree or disagree with this free parking trial, at least enjoy not having to fossick around for change for the meter for the next 12 days.
What do you think?
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