PERTH parkers got some good news out of Tuesday’s council meeting, with reforms to the all-day parking fee.
But further changes pushed by the Deputy Lord Mayor hit a roadblock.
Council voted to not raise the all-day parking fee for 2017-18, and consolidated the various early bird and other all day specials into one flat all day deal.
Critically, the hours for the all-day fee have been extended from the previous early bird range of 6am to 4pm to a more practical 6am to 7pm range.
The idea had been floated at Perth’s Finance and Administration Committee by Councillor Reece Harley as a way to encourage city workers to stay in the city to shop and eat after work.
Deputy Lord Mayor James Limnios moved to introduce “first half hour free” parking in some areas of the City, including stretches of Royal and Lake streets, to encourage more people to visit cafes and other small businesses in the area.
Cr Limnios acknowledged the efforts of resident George Manios, who had collected 1111 signatures on a petition calling for free half-hour parking on Royal Street.
The Deputy Lord Mayor said the bays would include the option of paying for a longer stay, but that the first 30 minutes free would encourage people put off by the idea of paying an extra $4 for a short stop to pick up a coffee or lunch.
“There is a 25 to 30 per cent drop in business… some businesses aren’t even making wages,” he said.
“Retailers in West Perth are dropping like flies. I’m proposing this for a 12 month trial.”
Cr Harley noted there was “loads” of parking available in West Perth on Saturdays and about $3.90 an hour to stop for lunch was excessive.
Cr Lily Chen said she liked the idea and moved for the proposal to be examined by the Finance and Administration Committee, but her suggestion did not gain traction with her fellow councillors.
Crs Janet Davidson and Judy McEvoy opposed the idea because it needed further financial analysis, triggering spirited debate on whether six days had been sufficient for City staff to produce a report on the financial implications of the proposal.
Cr Limnios said “the bottom line is – do you support small business people who are doing it tough?”
The motion was defeated 6-3, with Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi and Crs McEvoy, Davidson, Chen, Keith Young and Jim Adamos voting against, and Crs Limnios, Harley and Jemma Green voting for.