Home Commodities Car parks a scarce commodity for shoppers in Rangiora CBD

Car parks a scarce commodity for shoppers in Rangiora CBD

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Tracey Ashley from The Feed Shack says her income is down 90% because of restricted access to her store and a lack of available car parks.

Peter Meecham/Stuff

Tracey Ashley from The Feed Shack says her income is down 90% because of restricted access to her store and a lack of available car parks.

“It’s really hard to find a park,” is a sentence business owners Miles and Tracey Ashley believe they hear from every second customer.

The pair owns The Feed Shack – a pet supplies store – in Rangiora’s central township and are worried they could be “out of business within weeks” because only a handful of car parks are available to customers.

Between the parking situation and roadworks to improve water infrastructure, put down new paving, and install street furniture and lighting, the Ashleys say their store is barely accessible.

The three-month revamp has wiped out 90% of their usual trade, but the couple said it’s only been the tip of the iceberg, because the car parking spots meant for customers have been taken up by staff and employees in the CBD area for years.

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“If a customer can’t park within a reasonable distance… they’ll go elsewhere,” Miles said

Their pet store has been on Good St since 2019, and early into their ownership Miles noticed a significant number of the free two-hour parking spots on their road and neighbouring Blake St were taken up by the same cars each time.

He has since worked out that they’re used by nearby workers.

“I can point out cars that are employees from the New World, or employees from a café, [and] they’re not there just some of the time. They’re there virtually five days a week, all day, in a two-hour car park consistently.”

Tracey said they drive into work and park a 5-10 minute walk away from the store to not be “a part of the problem”, and “allow customers the potential to get out of their vehicle to spend”.

The Feed Shack is lost and barely accessible while Good St is midway through a three-month renovation.

Supplied

The Feed Shack is lost and barely accessible while Good St is midway through a three-month renovation.

But when she gets to work before opening time at 9am, the “bulk” of the car parks have already been taken before potential customers get a chance, which she said puts “tremendous stress” on their ability to get people in the door.

More than three years on and multiple emails asking for more regular ticketing patrolling later, it’s only gotten worse, said Miles, because “the enforcement actions from the council were abysmal”.

Responses to their emails informed them the Waimakariri District Council enforcement staff have the entire wider region to cover.

“Where’s the action if it’s a priority?” Tracey said. “No results in three years is just failure.”

The Waimakiriri District Council said there are 96 limited time zone car parks available on Blake St, that adjoins Good St, and regular monitoring suggests that there haven’t been any changes to the number of notices issued in this car park recently.

Free two-hour parking around The Feed Shack is constantly snatched up by nearby CBD employees and staff the owners claim, leaving no room for potential customers.

Supplied

Free two-hour parking around The Feed Shack is constantly snatched up by nearby CBD employees and staff the owners claim, leaving no room for potential customers.

“Several complaints were raised about over stayers at the Blake St car park in 2020, which resulted in increased monitoring, and all nearby businesses were informed about the use of the car park at the time,” a council spokesperson said.

Tracey said it was only a “short term improvement” then, and has remained an ongoing issue.

“They’re not ticketing enough to turn over those car parks meant for customers.”

The pair urge employees in the area to abide by parking zone limits, claiming each car park unusable is potentially thousands of revenue for the township’s central businesses lost.

“Simply car parking just isn’t available and now there’s shops on the street struggling,” Miles said.

Further roadworks on Blake St have “reduced” on street parking while a water main is replaced, which is expected to be finished by the end of the month, the council said.

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