Arrowtown councillor says parking can't stay the same for ever

by Lauren Pattemore - Jul 10, 2024

Arrowtown-Kawarau councillor Lisa Guy is defending the council's parking enforcement in her neck of the woods, despite Crux yesterday revealing a food supplier is struggling to do business after receiving thousands of dollars in parking tickets there this year alone.

Councillor Guy has been working with constituents to understand parking issues in the township and has come to the conclusion people need to move with the times.

The population in the area is booming, and she says that means parking can't stay the way it has always been.

"Yeah it used to work that you could double park on the street with your truck, and put a pallet down off it and spend 20 minutes running into a building - that doesn't work when you're at high volume.

"You can't just keep the same systems and expect that they're going to work when you've got thousands more people using them every day."

But owner of Refrigerated Express Mike O'Rourke has told Crux he is now questioning if it is financially viable for his business to continue its daily deliveries to Arrowtown food outlets.

He estimates his drivers have copped $5,000 in parking fines from the Queenstown Lakes District Council since January.

While the council says the deliverers need to stop away from main drag Buckingham Street to avoid fines, Mr O'Rouke says it is impractical and unsafe to carry heavy loads longer distances on congested footpaths and uphill.

However Councillor Guy questions these claims, saying there are still places for deliveries to be made on Buckingham Street.

"There's been no removal of those, and there's no time limit to doing your deliveries as long as you're loading and unloading."

Councillor Guy says she accepts there are concerns within the community about parking enforcement as well as challenges for commercial deliveries.

She says in the past few weeks she's reached out to a few local businesses to hear their thoughts and collecting feedback for an upcoming council workshop on the draft parking strategy that the public was consulted on earlier in the year.

"I had a conversation with somebody who felt that it was harsh that they had been pulled up for dropping somebody off across the mobility access ramp in Arrowtown."

But she reckons the ramp can often be blocked for most of the day.

"As a driver yourself, you feel like, 'oh I was only there for a few seconds', separately if you look at the number of tickets, that's probably most of the day that that ramp's inaccessible."

Councillor Guy says she does have compassion for the people that are finding the different parking rules difficult to navigate.

"It is a behavioural adjustment...and it is about systematic change."

She pushes back at any suggestion locals have been blindsided by what appears to be ramped up enforcement of parking rules, saying the rules have always been there.

"We've probably got complacent and not abiding by the rules and thinking that they don't apply for us."

She says people have asked her about what exactly constitutes 'inconsiderate parking' as that is what some tickets state as the offence. 

"It is a legitimate thing.

"Everybody's business deserves the right to be accessible. Everybody with a disability deserves to use the mobility park.

"We've just all got to be a bit considerate of each other's needs.

"Most people have responded to the increase in enforcement by ensuring they're meeting the regulations."

Councillor Guy was unwilling to comment on other individual cases of claimed overzealous parking enforcement reported on by Crux, including the driver fined for 13 seconds spent waiting to complete a u-turn, the bread delivery driver ticketed at 4am and the tour bus driver fined for stopping outside a crowded bus zone.

"Without being able to look at each specific incident, I wouldn't make a judgment call on any of them because it's not my designated role. Those roles have been contracted to somebody to assess against the set criteria."

Main image: Councillor Lisa Guy weighs in on Arrowtown's ticketing debate.


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