Frustrated business owners on Aerodrome Road seeking safer parking options are a step closer to achieving their goal after pleading their case to councillors.
Ken Andersen and Michelle Peter, who operate separate businesses in the area, spoke at Tuesday’s transport committee meeting in the council chambers.
Both of them are advocating for a piece of road reserve land on the northern corner of Aerodrome Road to be transformed into a carpark for workers at local businesses to use.
In the past the land has been leased by the council to commercial operators, chiefly for storage of vehicles and other machinery.
Presently it is not being leased to anyone, and the empty lot is being ‘squatted on’ for parking by workers in the area.
Committee members requested a detailed report from staff about the options available in regards to using the space, which was delivered to the transport committee at Tuesday’s meeting.
The report suggests three options – continuing to lease the land; constructing a free carpark; or constructing a carpark and leasing the spaces to local businesses.
The costs of the latter two options include an estimated capital expenditure of $250,000 – a figure both Ken and Michelle disagree with.
“We’ve received quotes of between $25,000 and $40,000.”
Tauranga City Council transport manager Martin Parkes admits the figure of $250,000 was the upper estimate, but says around $200,000 would still have to be spent to do a ‘proper’ sealed carpark with channel and curbing and with storm water considerations taken into account.
Michelle says at present, cars are also parking on the curb near the corner, causing safety concerns.
“Due to limited parking options these vehicles are a hazard. They obscure the view, essentially making that a blind corner,” she says.
“Our employees have had several near misses, as well as vehicular damage. It’s only a matter of time before there’s a serious harm incident.”
At the moment council staff have held off leasing the land to a new occupier while the transport committee makes a decision. Many committee members were sympathetic to the idea of using the space for car parking at Tuesday’s meeting, and argued that there is little difference between using the land to store a company’s property and using it to ‘store’ cars during the day.
Martin agrees, but says if cars are coming and going that will inevitably cause more wear and tear to the land, if the proper care is not taken to prevent this from happening.
Eventually, Councillor Larry Baldock moved to hold off on a final decision for two months, to allow the business owners on Aerodrome Road to make a proposal to the council to lease the land themselves for parking purposes. This was agreed to and passed by other committee members.
Ken and Michelle say they are pleased with the outcome of the meeting.
“It was a reasonable decision, especially since they didn’t have enough information in front of them to begin with.”