The Maitland CBD parking crisis has reached boiling point with frustrated retailers renewing the charge, calling on council for an interim fix in The Levee.
Business operators contacted The Mercury in another attempt to vent their disappointment about declining trade, illegal parking by tradespeople and Maitland City Council’s inaction to fix the parking situation.
They had been pinning their hopes for a short term fix on a meeting with council on February 15 to plead their case. But long time business owner John Lee said the meeting had left retailers in The Levee feeling frustrated and questions unanswered.
"The council wasn't down there at the meeting, it was just the consultants," he said.
"We've asked them four times to come up and have a look but they refuse. We have asked them to bring up an engineer and talk to us about our ideas.
"If you ask people, they are doing two laps [of The Levee] and then end up going to Green Hills."
Maitland Council engaged GTA Consultants to undertake a parking study to “understand the overall position on parking in Central Maitland and identify future opportunities”.
Their ongoing frustration pushed the fed-up retailers to start a petition calling for "some quick fixes" from council.
The petition garnered signatures from 21 businesses in The Levee.
Mr Lee said some of the businesses ideas for short term fixes included removing “Levee furniture”, such as gardens and seating, as well as removing taxi ranks.
"The leagues club is closed but there are still signs up that stop people from parking there," Mr Lee said.
Ken Lane Menswear operator Patrick Lane said retailers were asking for a short term remedy before it was too late for some businesses.
"They have a track record of putting things at arms length," Mr Lane said.
"Council's representatives should have been at these workshops.
"The biggest problem is workers who work nine to five. We need to enforce parking restrictions and push those workers to the fringe.
"The immediate fix is freeing up the parks for customers."
But council’s engineering and design manager Kevin Stein said council would wait for the final document before any action in The Levee.
"The initial consultation phase for the Central Maitland Parking Study has concluded and the data collected, including community and parking survey information, is currently being analysed to develop parking measures in Central Maitland," Mr Stein said.
"Following this, council will receive the draft parking study which will be presented to the community for consultation and then to council for adoption.
"Council will wait for the final document to be adopted before considering the implementation of any parking measures." Community consultation for the parking study closed on February 19, and it is anticipated to be completed by July 2019.
Maitland mayor Loretta Baker added the economic circumstances can't just be blamed on parking in The Levee.
"I'm very keen to see what comes out of this parking study because there will be audits," Cr Baker said.
"The meeting was set up for the consultants to speak directly to the business owners. We have to do a study, we can't go on anecdotes or conjuncture."