Multi-storey car park inevitable
MAYOR Lorraine Pyefinch has declared a multi-storey car park in Bundaberg’s CBD “inevitable”, as figures show the council’s parking program costs $210,000 more to run than it makes in fines.
Cr Pyefinch said the council was on the tentative lookout for a developer to partner a joint venture to build the facility, which would be beyond Bundaberg Regional Council’s means on its own.
“At the end of the day we do need a multi-level car park. It is something we have been looking to,” she said.
“The city is growing, but we don’t currently have the capital required for the project. We would certainly look at a joint venture with a developer if that came up.”
Figures provided to the NewsMail show $400,000 is being spent annually on the council’s parking fine program, but it is clawing back just $190,000 in fines.
Despite the heavy costs involved, Bundaberg’s CBD business owners are not convinced the system is working.
Lottie's Coffee Pot owner Brad Row said he regularly received complaints from customers who had trouble finding parking spaces.
“Customers are always complaining about the lack of parking in the main street,” Mr Row said.
“There is no cheap or easy solution to the problem, but something needs to be done.”
City Girl/City Guy owner Cheryl Campbell said she did not believe the $10 fine deterred drivers from overstaying the allocated time.
“A lot of people say, ‘$10 is nothing’,” she said.
“Maybe if they increased the fine, people would think twice.”
Cr Pyefinch said the council planned to increase fines as soon as possible.
“We are desperately waiting for changes to local laws which will allow us to increase parking fines,” she said.
“We will definitely break even then.”
The council issues about 650 fines each month, with just more than half paid on time.
Council manager of health and regulatory services John Duffield said the parking fine program was there to help turnover CBD parking, not just to raise revenue.
“In the history of the council, fines have only ever increased twice, once from $2.50 to $5 and then to $10. It is a small penalty,” he said.
Cr Pyefinch agreed, saying the parking system was in place to keep the CBD “thriving” with shoppers.
“We can’t do that if one lot of cars sit there all day,” she said.
Business owners think the money could be better spent on new parking facilities.
Mr Row suggested a tram line that could operate like a park and ride system and be a tourist attraction at the same time.
Other suggestions include meters and paid parking sites.
Mccracken’s Newsagency co-owner Neal Hinrichs said part of the problem was created by CBD business staff.
He claimed four employees from a local business came out every two hours and swapped car parks, rather than walking two blocks to all day parking.
“It really makes me angry,” Mr Hinrichs said.