Juliet Wilson of Stoke paying for parking in the city centre. Photo: Sinead Ogilvie.

Lack of free parking frustrates city workers

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Exactly 12,383 parking tickets were dished out in the centre of Nelson last year and city workers were among those facing the fines.

Nelson employees who commute to work on a daily basis say they are sick of battling to find a carpark in the CBD and are struggling to avoid accumulating parking tickets.

Some workers say they are having to arrive over 30 minutes early for work to secure a free all day park while others admit to playing a cat-and-mouse game with city parking wardens to avoid a fine for staying over a time limit.

Jaimie O’Carroll, a fulltime retail worker is frustrated with the number of fines she has received while parked for work. She estimates she received over 20 fines last year, while retail worker Amy Macilwee says she has lost count of how many fines she has received.  Jaimie says each day she feels like she is playing a game with the parking warden, moving her car up to two times to avoid a fine. She says there should be more all day parking or less of a time limit on parks available in the city.  “I would rather pay for all day parking than pay $12 or $40 in fines every time I go to work. Where are workers supposed to park?”

Monique Reid, of The Brook, says she now walks to work after struggling to find car parking she didn’t have to pay for.

“It costs too much to park in town, and there is no where to park without a time limit.”

She says her co-workers park up back streets or “wherever they can find a spot” and says she’s heard of people sneakily moving their cars or parking where they shouldn’t to avoid fines.

“It should be free. To park all day would cost about $8 and for a part timer that’s just too much out of their wages.”

Nelson City Council mayor Aldo Miccio says daily commuters should not be receiving fines with parks available at the Trafalgar Centre, city fringe areas and alternative transport options available. But he says the current parking strategy will be relooked at this year by the council. “We do have an array of alternate transport options for employees such as the cycleway and NBus has been up and running for a year. These options were introduced as part of a six year plan and we will be looking at how they are working.”

He says there has also been discussion of the potential for a parking building and increasing long term parking in the city centre.

Over the winter months Aldo says he would like to see the Tuesday free parking intiative continue and hopes to open that up to include more days.

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