Central Otago mayor dishes out Cromwell parking warnings

by Kim Bowden - Jan 22, 2024

Although probably not in his job description, Central Otago District mayor Tim Cadogan has been pounding Cromwell streets in recent weeks looking for motorists breaking parking rules.

Along with Cromwell Community Board member Bob Scott, Mayor Cadogan put up his hand to be a 'parking ambassador' over the holidays, as visitor numbers peaked in the lakeside town.

The men placed warning notices on vehicles they spotted parking longer than allowed, on yellow lines or footpaths, or in mobility parking spaces when they didn't have the right to.

It was a full house when Crux visited a carpark beside the Cromwell Mall on Saturday, January 20, with some vehicles parked illegally on a grass verge - one of the bad behaviours by motorists the council is trying to stamp out.

But one business owner has returned the favour, replicating the council's 'friendly reminder' and putting copies under the windscreen wipers of council staff vehicles they claim were parked illegally in area.

They say their customers often struggle to nab a parking spot close to the mall, so it irked them last week to see council fleet vehicles parking in public spaces longer than allowed.

Having been the recipient of one of the council's warning drops themselves, they decided to be a bit cheeky and print off a few of their own to remind council staff the rules apply to them too.

The warning slip, which at a quick glance could be assumed by motorists to be a ticket, explains offending can result in fines ranging from $12 to $57 for parking overtime and $40 to $150 for other parking offences.

However the council has confirmed to Crux it is not dishing out fines, nor employing or contracting any enforcement officers to do so for now.

"This is a way we can get an understanding of the issue and whether or not enforcement needs to be considered in the future," a spokesperson says.

"The focus has been on educating the public around time limited parking and vehicles parking where they shouldn’t."

The council is hearing anecdotally that parking is an issue around the Cromwell Mall, and it is receiving complaints about parking from members of the public in both Cromwell and Alexandra.

"We want to free up access to parking spaces at the busiest times, to ensure we can all get to run those errands, do that shopping, grab a coffee and enjoy what our district provides."

The spokesperson says the mayor and Mr Scott have reported positive interactions as they've been doing the rounds of problem parking spots, both saying people have appreciated the "education approach".

"Both volunteered their time as a way to help educate our communities," the spokesperson says.

In his regular Facebook live update last week Mayor Cadogan says the holiday season is a quieter time for him in terms of his council work. He has been checking up on problem parking in Alexandra as well as Cromwell.

It is his view his council will need to beef up its parking enforcement in the future as the best way to stop bad behaviour by motorists is to "make it cost them".

He also says business owners need to take responsibility for staff parking all day in time-limited spots.

In May, the council voted through changes to its roading bylaw focused on parking restrictions and infringement fees.

Main image: Cromwell motorists are being warned to follow parking rules with 'friendly reminders' placed on offending vehicles, but a local business owner has re-issued the warning to council staffers.

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