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Paid parking on hold to relieve Covid burden

Parking in Porirua CBD.jpg

With the community facing ongoing Covid-19 uncertainty, Porirua City Council has put a year-long suspension on its new paid parking system, to relieve some pressure on residents and businesses.

At a meeting of Te Puna Kōrero committee today, council voted in favour of a recommendation by Porirua Mayor Anita Baker to suspend paid parking until 6 March 2023, amending the Transport Bylaw 2021. Councillors Josh Trlin and Geoff Hayward voted against the motion.

Mayor Baker said that since adopting the bylaw there were new challenges being faced by the community in dealing with Covid-19, and council acknowledged that now was not the right time to introduce parking charges.

"We’ve heard loud and clear from the community that now is not the time. Over the course of this year, we will look at some of the implementation issues that have come to light and fix them,” she said.

“In recent weeks the omicron variant of Covid-19 has spread into the region, and central government has imposed the red-light setting, which has had an impact on businesses in the city centre.

“There is ongoing uncertainty around the impacts of Covid-19 on residents and businesses.

“We also took into account the recent announcement that inflation has hit 5.9 per cent, so the cost of living is shooting up.

“We are mindful that with people facing these challenges we could be adding extra strain through charging for parking right now, so we’re putting it on hold, effective immediately.”

Any revenue shortfall would be covered by additional borrowing.

“In the longer term we’re committed to keeping rates down as best we can. Council’s revenue has been challenged throughout the pandemic, so we thought introducing a modest fee for parking in our CBD was reasonable – but I totally accept that the timing was poor,” Mayor Baker said.

“This is not a retraction, it’s a temporary suspension to show some support and empathy for our local businesses during a challenging time.”

Time limits for parking will still apply and be enforced (but you don’t need to enter your plate in the parking machine), and the existing paid parking lots in Hagley St (outside the old police station and on the former Challenge Service Station site) will continue as usual, with fees applying.

The Transport Bylaw came into force in December 2021. Paid parking was initially consulted on during the Long-term Plan process in mid-2021, then detailed implementation plans were consulted on as part of the bylaw review.

16 Feb 2022