Penfold's plan for a decked car park in Maitland could be a win, win situation

Central Maitland traders, workers and shoppers have all had their say on parking in the city’s central business district and there seems to be more complaining about it than not.

Cr Philip Penfold’s pledge this week to put a decked car parking station on the council agenda, if elected to the city’s top job, surely has to be taken seriously.

With a $17million spend on The Levee, a growing cafe culture and the addition of Aldi to Central Maitland, car parks will continue to be in hot demand.

Maitland is growing, not shrinking.

It is vibrant, and one of the jewels in the Hunter Valley’s crown.

To do justice to the money Maitland City Council has poured into the city’s heart we must accommodate the people so we can continue to showcase what we have on offer.

We have quoted incumbent mayor Peter Blackmore on numerous occasions saying Maitland is the “can do” city. He also said Maitland is experiencing growing pains and Maitland is a victim of its own success.

The mayor added that a struggle to find a car park should be applauded because it is testimony to a strong and healthy city economy.

If elected Cr Penfold said he would move a motion for an urgent report into CBD parking, including consideration of a multi-storey parking station in Elgin Street.

He said as stage two of The Levee works were completed, the attractions drawing people to visit central Maitland would only increase due to the influx of options.

A poll on The Maitland Mercury’s website, which asked readers if they struggled to find a park in the city, resulted in 240 votes. A total of 201 people said they did struggle to find a car park, while 39 said they did not.

In March Cherie Thompson and colleague Susan Hegarty, who both work at a St Andrew's Street marketing business, told Fairfax Media that unless they arrived at least 45 minutes before their shifts they had little chance of finding a car park.

Cr Penfold has suggested the site on Elgin Street, opposite the former Sam's Warehouse, as a location possibly suited to a multi-level car park.

He said the proposed site was in good proximity to The Levee and riverfront and estimated a three- to four-storey station would cost about $10million - an investment that would last for decades.

It is opportune for Cr Penfold to lobby on the populist car park issue, but the reality is there is a need for more inner city parking.

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