Councillors continue debate on city car parking

PARK IT: Cr Philip Penfold.
PARK IT: Cr Philip Penfold.

When it comes to parking, Maitland motorists are spoilt, lazy and need to get off their backsides and walk a few blocks to their destinations.

Maitland’s car park debate continued this week with councillors offering a myriad of suggestions to motorists struggling to find a park.

The latest debate was triggered by a successful motion from Cr Bob Geoghegan for a review of CBD parking on the completion of The Levee and Stockland Green Hills. This followed news that mayoral candidate Philip Penfold wanted to see a multi-level car park built in the CBD.

At a council meeting this week there was a wave of possible car park solutions put forward ranging from paid metres to a 10,000 vehicle car park at the Long Bridge.

Suggestions came from Cr Henry Meskauskas who offered his services on Fridays to help motorists find car parks, Cr Loretta Baker who suggested parking on the city’s fringes and walking and Cr Brian Burke’s vision of a 10,000-vehicle car park near the Long Bridge.

Cr Ken Wethered said people were spoilt and “too conditioned” to getting what they wanted immediately. “We don’t think to spend time or wait for what we want. We are spoilt for choice. I want it now and if I don’t get it then there isn’t enough to go around. In other words, there are not enough parks because I am not willing to wait or look for them.”

Cr Baker said people needed to realise the city was changing and it required them to be part of the solution. “There are parks everywhere but people want to park in front of their building. People in some cities walk blocks to work and are fitter and healthier,” she said.

Cr Arch Humphery raised the question of electronic car park monitors similar to those in shopping centres indicating when parks are vacant or in use. Cr Meskauskas asked about the possibility of paid parking metres but was told they were not the answer. Cr Robert Aitchison said if council funded a multi-level car park it may become a white elephant and a financial noose around council’s neck.

Cr Penfold said with all this debate there was obviously a parking need. “Cr Wethered called drivers spoilt, Cr Baker suggested drivers park at the railway station and walk and Cr Burke suggested commuters park at the Long Bridge. “It doesn’t take much foresight to realise the additional parking needs in a growing city,” he said.