Arrowtown supplier cops $5,000 in parking fines this year

by Lauren Pattemore - Jul 09, 2024

One popular supplier to Arrowtown hospitality venues is considering stopping their daily deliveries to the area due to the number of parking tickets received this year.

Owner of Refrigerated Express Mike O'Rourke says it is not financially viable to supply to Arrowtown anymore.

He estimates he has paid close to $5,000 in parking tickets this year, mostly for "inconsiderate parking" on the main drag Buckingham Street.

Refrigerated Express owner Mike O'Rouke says this batch of tickets from the past couple weeks is just an example of what he is having to pay.

While the Queenstown Lakes District Council has offered up an alternative stopping spot, Mr O'Rouke thinks it would introduce fresh hazards for deliveries. 

The council has told Mr O'Rouke goods could be unloaded on the street below - Ramshaw Lane - outside the Athenaeum Hall.

But Mr O'Rouke says the pellets the company uses can weigh up to a tonne, and it'd be a health and safety hazard to haul them up and along Buckingham Street, potentially forcing either pedestrians or his employees onto the road to make room for them.

His business has been supplying to the area for a decade but only this year has parking on Buckingham Street been a problem worthy of a ticket. 

The Cromwell-based company supplies Arrowtown businesses with products from smaller food producers and manufacturers out of town.

"In a nutshell, if we turn our back on Arrowtown it would not only be damaging for us, but the hospo businesses in Arrowtown would suffer as a result."

He says the out-of-town nature of the business limits arrival times in Arrowtown, and he doesn't have the option to deliver before parking restrictions come into play.

Mr O'Rouke is one of many who've came forward in recent weeks with stories of parking tickets they believe have been issued unfairly in commercial areas in the district.

A motorist who received a $60 ticket for stopping for 13 seconds on a broken yellow line to make a u-turn was the story that started it all, but there's also been a delivery driver pinged for 4am bread drop-offs to Cow Lane, a tour guide in an overcrowded pick-up spot for buses, and a business owner dropping off goods in a loading zone - all in the Queenstown CBD. 

The Queenstown Lakes District Council has pushed back at any suggestion of an increased crackdown on problem parking.

In response to repeated questioning from Crux on parking enforcement in recent weeks a spokesperson has said "council's approach has remained consistent".

"Our primary focus is on the accuracy of tickets rather than the number of tickets issued.

"Any change in the incidence of parking infringements we issue can be the result of, for example, an increase in the number of people driving around our district."

The spokesperson says council has a responsibility to monitor and enforce national legislation and the QLDC Traffic and Parking Bylaw.

"It’s in everyone’s interests for parking regulations to be respected in fairness to the whole community and to keep things turning over, especially in our town centres."

They say they appreciate no one likes getting a parking ticket but restrictions around the district are there for very important reasons.

"These include protecting the safety of pedestrians, bikers and all other road users, maintaining an equitable flow of available spaces in our townships throughout each day, protecting spaces for those with accessibility issues, enabling local businesses and individuals to load/unload goods, and providing dedicated spaces for licensed taxis (who pay a permit for use of taxi ranks) and buses."

The Arrowtown Village Association has been approached for comment.

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