Clarke hails benefits of car park change
A retail chief has backed controversial changes to Hamilton city centre car parking charges.
Paula Clarke, chairman of the retail division of the Chamber of Commerce, said that a balance had to be struck between people parking long-term in the city for work and those who needed short-term parking for shopping or other activities.
“If there isn't short-term parking available, it's going to affect how people feel about driving into the city,” she said.
“I think what the city is offering are very balanced options for the community.”
Ms Clarke, the CEO of Gibbons Company in Reid Street, was speaking after the City of Hamilton introduced a paid barrier system and new parking charges for its City Hall car park, designed to limit the length of stay.
Drivers parking at City Hall for more than four hours will be slapped with an $81 fee.
The new parking charges will be in place from Sunday onwards. The charges apply Mondays to Saturdays, when it will cost $2 an hour for the first three hours, with an additional charge of $10 applied for stays of up to four hours.
Previously, drivers faced a parking ticket for exceeding the three-hour mark.
After four hours, drivers are to be charged an additional $65 — taking to total fee for four or more hours to $81.
Ms Clarke said: “It really is the responsibility of the City of Hamilton to provide short-term parking.
“It's necessary for the community to understand there is plenty of provision for long-term parking within five minutes of the two short-term parking sites.
“It's important all the parking spaces are not eaten up by the long-term parkers.
“If people are not based in the city and they want to come in and run errands, go to the doctor or another appointment, they can do these things within three hours.
“It's not just the stores, it's restaurants, hair salons and doctors, a lot of them are in the city.
“And it's very reasonable compared to other cities. Six dollars for three hours' parking for any city in the world is extremely reasonable.”
She added: “We want to have a vibrant city. We want to have people walking the streets and using the city. We don't want to deter them, and not having short-term parking is a deterrent.
“The new system is the only way the city has control, to be honest. If this is the only way they can control it, they're doing it in a very fair way.”