End date in sight for Tauranga CBD free parking

There has been no marked increase in CBD spend as a result of the free-parking trial. File image/SunLive.

The two-hour free parking system across Tauranga’s CBD will continue until early next year when a new citywide parking system is expected to come into force.

Commissioners have approved the recommendation at a council meeting this week with a lack of evidence as to whether the trial had a beneficial update on spend in the city centre.

The trial was adopted last August in response to the Covid-19 lockdown. The aim was to give the Tauranga CBD an economic boost by increasing retail viability in comparison to non-CBD retail centres, which have free parking structures in place.

The report from Tauranga City Council shows analysis of spend in the city, after the implementation of the free-parking trial, has been conducted and no marked lift has been seen.

However, with a citywide parking strategy due to be put forward by August, council recommend keeping the current free-parking structure in place until February 2022, when the new parking strategy will be implemented.

That recommendation has been approved by the commissioners.

The report to commissioners did note that Council are foregoing around $100,000 to $120,000 a month in revenue as a result of the free parking trial.

However, with another change in parking regulations on the horizon early next year, continuing the current system is the preferred option to avoid confusion.

Speaking at the meeting, commission chair Anne Tolley notes a potential need to make notice of the free parking system clearer for out of town users of the CBD, who may be unaware.

Commissioner Stephen Selwood highlights concerns from some business owners that the current system is not being rigorously enforced.

He also points out the financial opportunities council is relinquishing by not charging for on-street parking in the CBD.

“It would be really important that we communicate this to the business community because the council has indeed foregone a significant amount of revenue as a result of this decision and will continue to do so,” he says.

“I don’t know if the retail community necessarily understand that that has been done.”

Tauranga City Council general manager of infrastructure Nic Johansson, who presented the report, says additional laps of the License Plate Recognition vehicle could be utilised to help enforcement and took on board the other suggestions.

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They lost NO revenue...

Posted on 26-06-2021 16:27 | By morepork

... because no-one is going there anyway. Sure, make the CBD an even MORE unpleasant place to visit by imposing parking fees, when the competition provide it free. How hard is it for administrators to grasp this? Bruja has it right. Sad for our City. It will be 20 years before it is revived again with a new generation of administrators who can see beyond the current tunnel vision. Tauranga City has the potential to be a thriving, enjoyable, lively place to be (I remember when it was... ), but it is suffering from repetitive and on-going incompetence, mis-management, and lack of vision.

Far too early

Posted on 26-06-2021 08:34 | By

This should be a given to extend until such a time the CBD is enroute to being partially revitalised with Elizabeth towers completion and some uptake on new lease Devonport Road.

Seems that -

Posted on 26-06-2021 00:27 | By The Caveman

The FIVE commenters up to now know more than the council bureaucrats - the simple fact is that the CBD is almost dead !!


Posted on 25-06-2021 21:08 | By groutby

....once proud CBD, even less people will enter the ’enforced’ zone, less people= less retail = well, let’s hope those working in the city centre for local gov’t are big spenders!..........


Posted on 25-06-2021 15:15 | By This Guy

I’m not surprised "no marked lift has been seen" because most of the shops in the CBD are empty... I mean what good is "free parking" if there’s no reason to go there in the first place?

The problem is

Posted on 25-06-2021 14:02 | By earlybird

that the 2 hour free parking rule is being abused. I’ve visited the CBD at 9AM on the last 3 Fridays and found that although there were no people in sight, all of the parking spaces were full in Devonport Road & Grey Street. Obviously city workers are taking the spaces and leaving no room for shoppers. This is why I usually go to The Crossing to do my shopping.

get rid

Posted on 25-06-2021 13:44 | By

It would not matter if they were there or not, the CBD is dead caused by a useless council, even farmers will not make any difference, it is nearly a ghost town, free parking, easier parking, a great variety of shops, food malls, entertainment, malls are the story, Bethlehem, Tauriko, Bayfare, Papamoa, and now the biggest bigger than bay fare south Papamoa, big new one omokaroa, kiss good buy to CBD.


Posted on 25-06-2021 10:06 | By Bruja

Look, like it or not the CBD is in COMPETITION (know what competition means????) with suburban malls and THEY have free parking. Have you considered that without the 2 hour free parking there may actually be NO-ONE in the CBD except workers???? Get Real!!!

What cdb?

Posted on 25-06-2021 07:25 | By Carlos spicywiener

R.I.P Tauranga cbd.