RESIDENTS will only be seeing 75 car parks become free and all day off-street parking options after councillors supported a shadow motion put forward by Cr Fern Summer and opposed the motion put by Cr Shelly Sutton to introduce a trial of free, timed parking in the CBD.
Last month, it was put to council to see an introduction of a free parking trial across the CBD to help breathe life back into Shepparton’s dying centre, but it was deferred as councillors believed they needed more information before making a decision.
DURING the December ordinary council meeting, all councillors, aside from Cr Dinny Adem and Cr Shelly Sutton supported Cr Fern Summer’s shadow motion, that will now see the car parks at the Nixon, Maude Street and Edward Street parking bay become free spaces in the coming weeks.
The reason given by council on why the decision was made to oppose the free parking trial was due to the revenue loss of $1.4M annually and the additional costs that would be incurred through implementing measurements of the campaign’s success. According to a report released by council that would equate to approximately $250,000 to $500,000 due to the need to install sensor technology and an additional $100,000 would need to be put into an economic development impact study.
Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Cr Kim O’Keeffe said, “We looked at all the options very thoroughly
“The trial was going to be a significant cost and there was no way to measure the full impact of the success.
“There has been a lot of division in what should be done with parking in the CBD and we have spent a lot of time and consideration on the matter. The in-depth report is a reflection of that.
“There is a significant income stream from it that helps to fund CBD projects as well as the municipality school crossing program, which costs $270,000 per annum. Having to then go and find that revenue was another big factor to the decision we made.
“We are now pursuing updating of technological options for the parking metres such as ‘tap and go’ and implementing that as quickly as possible, which will give people the option and convenience of being able to pay for the parking when they don’t have coins.
“We are mindful that there does need to be change and that is happening.
“We are also working with the multi-deck car park to approve that facility to help improve the parking experience for the customers.”
During her election campaign in 2016, Cr O’Keeffe, and other candidates who made it onto council, told The Adviser they were in favour of introducing free parking in the CBD. But while there has been at least some movement, the latest decision by council seems to have shown that some councillors have recanted their support for free parking.
Cr O’Keeffe said, “Now that I have been in council and have been better educated on the subject, I don’t see a lack of free parking as the only reason that the CBD is struggling and so I have not supported the free parking trial.
“In my personal opinion though, I do think we need more parking options in the CBD.”
Councillors who voted to support free, time parking trial
Cr Dinny Adem
Cr Shelly Sutton
Councillors who opposed the free, timed parking trial
Cr Bruce Giovanetti
Cr Chris Hazelman
Cr Dennis Patterson
Cr Fern Summer
Cr Kim O’Keeffe
Cr Les Oroszvary
Cr Seema Abdullah