SUNDAY shoppers will be able to park free along Victoria Park’s Albany Highway strip in January to help local businesses rebound from a difficult past year.
Victoria Park Council has been sympathetic to the anecdotal effects of the Water Corporation’s Pipes for Perth program on traders, who say the works pushed shoppers and diners away from the strip in the second half of 2018.
The problem reached tipping point earlier this month December for Victoria Park councillor Karen Vernon, who wanted free parking on Sundays introduced permanently and immediately as one of a raft of suggested changes to the paid parking regime.
“Since I joined the council last year I have heard repeatedly from members of the business community that they are suffering,” Cr Vernon said.
“Businesses say paid parking is an impact on their livelihood.”
However the council decided to limit the free parking gesture to four Sundays of January followed by a six-month trial and survey, starting February.
The trial will involve changing the length of free periods, pricing and maximum time limits, with the data and feedback gathered then to be used to lead any changes to the council’s parking management plan.
Cr Claire Anderson, who was part of the council when paid parking was introduced in 2014, remembered that changes had already been made to get right the balance between access and attraction.
“It is time to review it again and free Sundays is a good start for supporting the businesses,” she said.
Mayor Trevor Vaughn said the Town was keen to offer support to local businesses as a gesture of goodwill.
“We hope this helps businesses during a busy time of year and after some recent disruptions,” he said.
“As a destination we need to balance the needs of residents, local businesses and visitors to the Town.