Small businesses want free parking in Joondalup city centre, says councillor

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE first half-hour of parking in the Joondalup city centre should be free, according to one councillor.

When recently considering a report on stimulating hospitality and tourism in the Joondalup city centre, Cr Russell Poliwka requested the City implement free parking for the first half-hour.

MORE: City of Joondalup seeks feedback on parking

He said local businesses were “doing it extremely tough”.

“We are now losing significant businesses from the area east of the shopping centre,” he said.

“Part of that is due to the fact they believe paid parking is one of the issues.

“Free parking is something they desperately require.”

He said small business was “a significant part of our rate base” and he believed free parking would stimulate employment.

“I also believe, contrary to the City officers, it will also assist us with our parking stations in the future,” he said.

“I don’t accept the financial impact would be as high as estimated.”

Cr Poliwka said other councils had experienced similar issues and had reverted back to free parking after some time of paid parking.

Corporate services director Mike Tidy said having the first half-hour of parking free could result in a loss of $650,000 to $800,000.

He said this impact would have flow-on effects given parking revenue was used to fund other parking-related things such as the CAT bus service and the loan used to fund the multi-storey carpark.

“There is no rate money that goes to fund parking; it’s all paid for by parking income,” he said.

“If this income is reduced significantly, we would not have enough money to cover that and we would need to use other funds to cover the loan repayments.”

Other councillors raised concerns of implementing the “significant change on the run” without having all the information before them.

Mayor Albert Jacob then amended the request to ask the chief executive to investigate half-hour free parking in the inner-city centre area.

This would include community consultation and a “report on the issues, options and implications of such a proposal”.

The City is now consulting with the local community about parking conditions in the city centre with two online surveys open until March 14.