FRUSTRATIONS felt when the electronic parking limit of one hour was introduced in April remain just as strong today for many businesses in the Port Macquarie CBD.
A petition pushing for the southern end of Horton Street parking to be changed to two hours, collected 1000 signatures and was submitted months ago to the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council. While the council has acknowledged concerns, it is yet to take action, businesses say.
Laing and Simmons Port Macquarie principal Chris Koch sent an email with photos of empty parking spaces on William Street at 2pm on a weekday to council administrator Neil Porter.
Mr Koch says the one-hour limits effect both staff and customers, particularly if paperwork finalising the purchase of new homes needs to be discussed.
“These limits are driving people away from the CBD,” he said.
“I understand there needs to be a balance to ensure a turnover of cars but the council hasn’t got the balance right.”
Mr Koch has urged the council to implement a trial for two-hour parking at the southern end of Horton Street. He said Mr Porter advised the current one-hour system for the entire stretch of the street needed to be in place for at least six months to gauge effectiveness.
“Some businesses won’t survive by that time,” Mr Koch warned. Bean Tree Cafe owner Sue Bulmer helped collect signatures for the petition and said she did not meet one person who was happy with the parking arrangements.
“It’s effecting us greatly, particularly in the mornings,” Mrs Bulmer said.
“Three of my staff have left and I haven’t been able to afford to replace them.”
The carbon tax is adding to financial pressure, with four suppliers so far alerting Mrs Bulmer to price rises.
“We need customers to cope with these rises and one-hour parking is driving them away,” she said.
Jon’s Family Jewellers owner Jon Pitkin said better signage should be erected, particularly to inform tourists of the electronic monitors.
“Parking needs to be reviewed,” Mr Pitkin said. “It’s not hard to go over an hour.”
Buzz cafe owner Vicki Brady says the parking has been “detrimental” to her business.
“You only have to look at all the empty shop fronts to see how difficult business is at the moment,” Mrs Brady said. All four businesses agree parking should be a major council election issue and would vote in favour of the candidate who makes it their top priority.