First-hour free parking wins wide support

LAUNCESTON businesses overwhelmingly support a move to introduce first-hour free parking in council-owned multistorey car parks in the city.

According to a survey undertaken last month by Cityprom within the central business district and released yesterday, it found of the 230 responses, 89.9 per cent supported the implementation of a first-hour free parking trial over 12-months.

The survey also found 65.7 per cent supported Cityprom making a partial contribution towards the initiative, which council had suggested would cost it about $700,000 to sustain on an ongoing basis.

The survey stemmed from a June council proposal to offer one-hour free parking each Tuesday between 1pm and 6pm, however, the issue of parking in the CBD has been contentious for many years.

Cityprom executive officer Vanessa Cahoon said the fact such a high percentage of business people supported the trial was surprising but it also demonstrated the desire for something to happen to bring shoppers back to the CBD.

She said the support for a partial contribution was something the organisation wanted to flag with members, however, the group may only be expected to make a small contribution to cover council's costs.

"There remains a lot of unknowns around this," Ms Cahoon said.

A proponent of the first-hour free parking initiative in the city this time around, Jim Hughes & Sons Jewellers' Rob Turner, said a flaw remained in that the council-owned York Street West car park would not be included.

He said businesses in the south-west of the city would suffer and a survey being circulated among those traders had found overwhelming support for it to be included in the trial.

Ms Cahoon said the original proposal was always only for multistorey car parks and it would be much harder and costly to include a car park that does not have an attendant working.

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