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No ‘smart’ meters yet

A key part of proposed new parking policy, new parking meters that take credit cards, will not be available for several years.

The District Council environmental planning and regulations committee was told one of the main themes that emerged from submissions on the draft policy was support for meters that could accept different forms of payment.

Senior policy planner Carrie White said many of proposals within the draft parking policy were dependent on the installation of new meters with technology capable of receiving various forms of payment and of adjusting fees and times.

But the draft budget for the 2018-28 long-term plan had funding for the new parking meters outside the first three of the 10 years.

The implications were that meter upgrades would not be possible in the short to medium term.

The committee was told a recommendation that would introduce paid parking in the courthouse area of Read’s Quay would not be possible because the smart meters would not be available.

There were 15 formal submissions on the policy during four weeks of community consultation late last year. The draft policy also generated 100 comments on Facebook. Three submissions asked for free parking in the central business district but the staff recommendation was to retain the $2 an hour for two hours charge.

Parking in Gisborne is now administered under the Traffic and Parking Bylaw (2011). A consultant’s review in 2016 included the comment that the absence of a policy could lead to being caught in a cycle of “dabbling at the edges”.

Work on developing a parking policy began with the review, workshops and surveys, and research into the policies of other councils in mid-late 2016.

A staff report for a council meeting in June last year set out an approach for developing a car parking policy that would tie in with plans for new meters from 2019-2022 (at a budgeted cost of $1.08 million).?

Parking charge change needs the new metersCommittee chairwoman Pat Seymour said the council was talking of increasing the charge on Read’s Quay.

How could the council adopt that if it did not have updated parking meters?

“The public will be interested in what this means for them, as those are parking places they currently use.

“Are we putting out something quite confusing now to the public?”

This would not happen until the final vote on the long-term plan but the council was putting out a policy including a substantial number of elements it was not able to implement until 2026/27.

Was it confusing the public and the staff who were responsible for implementing the policy?

Environmental services and protection director Nick Zaman said once staff knew the amount of money available it could provide a schedule of what people were going to get.

Mrs Seymour said there was so much pressure on funding that nobody was going to ask for money for electronic parking meters ahead of protecting waterways.

The committee carried a recommendation to the full council that the draft policy be adopted with the inclusion of a draft timeline for implementation.