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Council confirms end to weekend parking

Users of Council street parking spaces on weekends will pay up to $2.50 per hour from 8 September after this morning’s meeting of the Wellington City Council confirmed the resolution from last week’s City Strategy Committee meeting to end free parking on weekends.

Parking fees will now be charged between 8:00am and 6:00pm on weekends in most central city areas, though at a lower rate to weekday parking.

A charge of $2:50 per hour will apply to all areas that currently have a weekday rate of $3:00 or more (currently 2,638 parks), with a rate of $1:50 for outlying areas charging a lower weekday rate (358 parks).

In moving the motion to confirm the resolution, Councillor Chris Calvi-Freeman said the change was needed to relieve CBD retailers from the burden of the Downtown Levy which was brought in 22 years ago to finance free parking, and to prevent ratepayers from taking up that burden. He said it would also encourage people to think about travel choices when coming into town, free up space in the CBD for those who really need to bring cars into town, and reduce congestion caused by motorists circling around in search of available parks.

During debate on the motion, Cr Andy Foster, calling the decision “rushed” moved a last-ditch amendment to keep free parking on Sundays, but it failed to fly.

A foreshadowed amendment was moved by Cr Sarah Free during the debate on Cr Foster’s motion in the case of it failing. Her amendment, to retain free parking on Sundays until midday, was subsequently defeated.

The substantive motion to confirm the changes was then passed, with councillors Simon Woolf, Andy Foster and Malcolm Sparrow voting against.

Another City Strategy Committee resolution – to increase charges for coupon parking and residents parking – was also approved, with a unanimous vote in favour of what Cr Calvi-Freeman called “a simple inflationary adjustment… there hasn’t been one for many years”.

Monitoring of the effect of the changes will be incorporated into the Parking Review currently being carried out by Council, with the data gathered expected to be incorporated into the next annual plan.

The council meeting also included a minute’s silence, and tributes from the Mayor and councillors, for former Councillor Bryan Pepperell, who died earlier this month