Rotorua and Tauranga’s councils have thousands of parking spots, but down the road these numbers will change. Local Democracy Reporting takes a look at what has happened and what changes might be ahead.
Rotorua Lakes Council and Tauranga City Council each have thousands of car parks. Some are free, some are paid, and others are free but time-limited.
Both cities have seen changes to the parking services on offer — and more look to be on the way.
In Rotorua, fees doubled to become $2 an hour from the current financial year and elected members began considering whether to increase the number of paid or time-limited parks in the coming year.
The fee rise was coupled with an increase of 200 paid parks, expected to bring the council an extra $930,000.
Elected members began looking at whether it should introduce time limits to free parking spots in three locations — Kuirau Park, Government Gardens and the lakefront.
It would also look at promoting the under-used inner-city parking building on Pukuatua St.
When discussing the possibility, Rotorua Mayor Tania Tapsell said the council needed to be careful of “unintended consequences” and spend time engaging with those who used the parks. She said there would need to be a balance between city workers and people wanting to park to use the reserves.
Parking has been a source of some contention in Tauranga, as the council looked to increase paid parking in the city.
Plans were put on hold, however, following community concern. The paid parking extension was to be from Third Ave up to Arundel St, and from McLean St up to Monmouth St and was set initially set for February 26.
Despite this, about 22 signs were mistakenly erected in January, at a cost of $4600.
Businesses voiced frustration at 147 parks being closed at the end of October for green space on the waterfront. A sign at the car park advised there were 100 parks at the recently opened Dive Crescent carpark.
The council was looking at imposing paid parking at Mount Maunganui from this year in the retail area of Maunganui Rd and along the beachfront as part of a new parking management plan aiming to free up spaces and dissuade motorists from using a space for a long time.
Commissioners also approved in October an extra $1.06 million for unforeseen design complexities on its seismic strengthening project at the Spring St parking building. This took the total project cost to $6.86m.
The commission will be reviewing the parking strategy in March.
What’s in the numbers – Rotorua Lakes Council’s parking network
For the last financial year, Rotorua council’s income from parking totalled $2,069,212. Parking services cost it $2,452,263.
The council manages 1379 paid parks, 684 free but time-limited parks, and 1300 free unlimited. It has one parking building.
February 2023 was the biggest earning month with $200,597 collected.
The council collects fees via parking machines, permits and the PrestoPark parking app. It contracts i-Park to manage the parking services.
There were 141 faults reported during that time. There are 69 machines.
However, there was no cost to the council for breakdowns or repairs because i-Park carried the cost.
Corporate planning and governance executive director Oonagh Hopkins said the system was constructed in a way that meant there were alternative methods of payment offered and all parkers were required to pay for their parking.
Council vehicles are exempt from parking fines when parked near the council building while working.
Elected members’ cars are exempt from parking fines near the council building when attending to council business.
What’s in the numbers – Tauranga City Council’s parking network
Tauranga’s council collected $4,765,644, while costs sat at $6,164,035.
It owns three parking buildings. There are 2096 paid car-parking spaces in the city centre.
Democracy services team leader Kath Norris could not confirm the total number of free time-limited car-parking bays across the city because she said many were not formally line-marked.
Of the collected $4,765,644, on-street parking totalled $907,586.
March 2023 saw the biggest amount collected in total at $549,085.
As of October, 891 stationary vehicle offence infringement notices remained unpaid from the previous financial year.
Parking repairs and maintenance cost $10,099. There were 44 reported faults and a total downtime of 2.69 hours.
The council leases and uses a total of 133 carparks at an annual cost of $362,227. Fleet vehicles are exempt from paid parking while on council business
By Laura Smith, Local Democracy Reporter
Local Democracy Reporting is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air