Parking pressures are about to escalate in the CBD and retailers are worried.
A temporary carpark off Havelock Street will be lost soon when the Ashburton District Council starts preliminary work on its new library and admin building and paid parking off Cass Street will be unavailable while the area is sealed.
Two public parking areas off Burnett Street on either side of the Ashburton fire station are already close to full with CBD workers’ cars, as are the all-day parking ends of the West Street carpark.
Ashburton retailer Bob McDonald says more parking space is needed long-term. CBD retailers dealing with the impact of Covid-19 on their businesses are also seeing customer parking spaces disappear as contractors dig up roads and footpaths as part of a beautification project.
Mr McDonald said retailers knew the work had to go ahead, but some were down 20 per cent of their usual trade.
On top of that, mud generated by the work was being trekked into stores and contributing to their unhappiness.
“We desperately need the business. The only way CBD retailers will survive is if the public buy local and support us.”
He asked shoppers to change their parking habits and be prepared to walk to the shop of their choice. He said shoppers could also ring and buy over the phone; retailers would be happy to deliver.
“If you are struggling getting to the shops, we can help. Be patient and support your CBD.”
Council says new parking areas are currently being investigated and staff are working on a long-term strategy. Its own staff will need somewhere to park when the new library and admin building is complete.
From this Monday, council will be drilling test bore holes as part of further site investigations on land at the corner of Havelock Street and Baring Square East, where its new library and admin building will be built.
Strategy and compliance group manager Jane Donaldson said workers had been able to use the site as an unofficial car park but it would be closed to them as the technical work began.
She said a number of construction projects around the CBD had limited parking options and residents were encouraged to plan ahead and look for the most suitable parking for their needs.
Construction of the library and civic centre will begin at the end of the year.