Business owners in Leederville are pleading with the City of Vincent not to cut free parking in the parking lots from an hour to 30 minutes, as the proposed change could create problems for foot traffic.
Vincent city councilors voted earlier this month to have a public consultation on a proposed change in the city’s rates from one hour free to 30 minutes free in paid parking garages.
The Avenue car park and the Frame Court car park – around downtown Leederville – are just a few of the city’s parking garages that offer a parking pass from 7 am to midnight Monday through Sunday, with the first hour being free for visitors. These locations could accommodate a reduction in free parking if the city approves the change at a future council meeting.
Camera IconFree parking for an hour at the Leederville parking garage. Credit: Andrew Ritchie/Perth Now
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The city plans to cut the free parking time for visitors to cut rates for taxpayers facing a massive 7.6 percent rate hike this fiscal year. The raise would give them an additional $104 out of pocket.
But Andrew Parissis, co-owner of Siena’s of Leederville, told PerthNow this week that the proposed reduction in free parking would make it harder for its customers to visit the much-loved Oxford Street institution.
Camera IconSiena’s from Leederville co-owner Andrew Parissis. Credit: Andrew Ritchie/Perth Now
“I think we would lose a lot of customers because it would just get harder to get here, and it would be an additional cost if everything goes up — we want to make things easier, not harder,” he said.
Mr. Parissis said his company had not recovered from the COVID pandemic and that changing to free parking would “destroy” the Leederville area.
“Leederville has lost so many people from the area, pre-COVID the parking lot was full, and you couldn’t get a spot; now it’s empty,” he said.
“Rather than the council encouraging people to come to Leederville by offering more free parking like in the city of Perth, their answer is to reduce free parking, which doesn’t make sense.
“We have not recovered from COVID; we no longer open lunch daily because no people are around.”
Mr. Parissis said the city’s current initiative to have one hour of free parking in the car parks is great as it allows people to shop, eat and go.
“Everyone knows it’s an hour, and it’s been that way for so long — to top it off, people will get angry and confused,” he said.
“(If it was) half an hour, by the time you park and get in and out of the shops, you can’t eat, you can’t do anything.”
Andrew Montgomery, the owner of Urban Records, said cutting free parking time in half was “another straw that broke the camel.”
Camera IconUrban Records owner Andrew Montgomery. Credit: Andrew Ritchie/Perth Now
“It’s always a controversial issue of parking, so it’s just another straw that broke the camel’s back, but it will make finding a parking space a little more difficult,” he said.
Mr. Montgomery said his business did well during the COVID spike, but weekdays were calmer while he still had busy weekends.
He predicted that the proposed change to free parking would bring fewer customers to his Oxford Street store.
“We’re going to face the mob of people saying, ‘It used to be an hour, now it’s half an hour, and I can’t get it all done’ – so we’d be on the receiving end of it all – it will just another problem for us to deal with,” he said.
Funky Bunches florist Renata Ulumbekova agreed, saying the change wasn’t a good idea.
Camera icon Renata Ulumbekrova from Funky Bunches. Credit: Andrew Ritchie/Perth Now
“They can do it from an hour to two hours, but no less,” she said.
“Sometimes customers order flowers, and I have to carry them to their cars or unload them with the flowers – it will affect us so much that we will lose money and business.”
The city welcomes feedback on the proposed parking change from all local businesses until June 29 at noon.
Mayor Emma Cole told PerthNow that the city wants to hear from businesses about her proposal.
“We are currently in discussions with the community about this as part of our pricing strategy,” she said.
“Shortening the free parking period would generate revenue equivalent to a 2.8 percent rate increase in the city of Vincent.
“This would spread the cost of providing quality services between taxpayers and visitors – for example, 83 percent of Leederville customers do not live in Vincent.”
Camera icon City of Vincent Mayor Emma Cole. Credit: David Baylis/Community News
Ms. Cole said reducing free parking would help clear bays by boosting sales in the city’s busy parking garages, particularly in Lerville.
“It would also support our approach to an accessible city by encouraging less car dependence,” she said.
“Our two car parks in Leederville are in transition – Vincent City Council is inviting redevelopment proposals for both car parks, which would likely result in a multi-story car park given the requirement for public parking spaces.”
“We are seeking proposals to establish new residential, commercial, retail, entertainment, and community and civic uses to support Leederville’s city center, with the city clearing land in the Frame Avenue Car Park for more parkland.”.”