4 June 2020
Local businesswoman Susan Jory presented a petition calling for free parking in Rotorua’s CBD at today’s Operations & Monitoring Committee meeting.
She suggested Council consider free 2 hour parking throughout the CBD as a way to support businesses, saying customers and business people considered the current system to be unfair and a barrier to visiting the inner city.
Following presentation of the petition and time for questions of Ms Jory, the meeting moved to consider a Notice of Motion “that Rotorua Lakes Council make parking free in the CBD to support businesses”. It was referred to the committee after being tabled at the last Full Council meeting and was lost when put to the vote yesterday.
Councillor Peter Bentley, who moved the original notice of motion at the recent Full Council meeting, asked to amend it. However, that was not possible as it had already previously been moved and seconded so had to be voted on in its current form.
Committee chair Cr Tania Tapsell said it was unfortunate the notice of motion was not more specific but noted work was ongoing behind the scenes and said it was important elected members “get it right” regarding any decisions ultimately made, to ensure no adverse impacts as a result.
The vote on the Notice of Motion followed discussion and the presentation by council officers of information relating to parking in the CBD. The presentation covered various changes made during the past 10 years and the consultation and engagement undertaken with inner city businesses in 2015 to arrive at the current mix of free time-limited parking and paid parking in the CBD. Officers also took elected members through the most recent updates and changes to the parking system and shared data relating to parking usage under the new system.
It was noted that a change in the council’s parking policy would require consultation and the involvement of inner city businesses. The committee heard it would be possible to engage with the inner city sector group that had been formed as part of Rotorua’s Build Back Better economic recovery strategy to discuss parking. A parking review could also form part of the work to be undertaken following the CBD functionality review which is to be presented to elected members in the near future.
You can go directly to the part of the livestreamed meeting that deals with the presentation of the petition and the notice of motion via THIS LINK.
See THIS LINK to view the information provided to the Committee relating to parking in the CBD
See p12 of the meeting agenda regarding the notice of motion
See p11 of the meeting agenda and the links below regarding the petition.
Petition - CBD Parking Comments
Petition - CBD Parking Signatures
Rates deferral scheme update
As part of cushioning the impact of COVID-19 on Rotorua’s hardest hit sectors – particularly tourism, hospitality and retail which are also expected to take the longest to recover – Council offered a rates deferral scheme for the current financial year’s fourth quarter instalment in May.
Council’s Chief Financial Officer Thomas Collé said uptake had been a lot less than was anticipated. It has been estimated that about 1000 businesses and up to 8000 residential ratepayers in the targeted sectors could be eligible for the scheme, which provided for deferment of rates payment for six or 12 months. A total of 111 applications were made, 66 of them approved and 44 declined although some of the latter were still subject to ongoing discussion, Mr Collé said.
People who did not meet the criteria set by the targeted scheme were still able to discuss their situations with Council and come to agreed arrangements.
While uptake of the scheme for the May instalment had not been as high as anticipated, the situation would be monitored to assess whether a similar scheme would be needed for the August instalment, Mr Collé said.
Financial performance for the 10 months to 30 April 2020
Council’s operating performance is tracking slightly behind budget with the COVID-19 lockdown impacting revenues.
April saw user pays fees and charges $429,000 lower than budget, parking revenues dropping $180,000 and building and planning consent revenues more than $140,000 lower than budget for the month.
The reduction in revenues was offset by operational cost savings, mainly due to the lockdown restrictions on provision of non-essential services.
Parking and consents related fees and events-driven revenues are expected to fall short of budget through May and June. Financial challenges will be closely managed alongside tight oversight of expenditure.
Go to p13 of the meeting agenda to view the full financial report for the 10 months to 30 April 2020.
See the presentation slides relating to the rates deferral and financial performance at THIS LINK
Support for consultation on Ngongotaha road safety options
The Committee voted in favour of recommending council staff move to consultation with Ngongotaha residents and road users on options to improve road safety through the village.
Three high level options will be consulted on and these were presented to the Committee yesterday.
Infrastructure Group Manager Stavros Michael said proposed improvements through the village would be supported by NZTA’s proposed improvements to the Ngongotaha roundabout to improve traffic flow through the village.
About 10,000 vehicles travel through the village daily with about 3.8% of those being heavy vehicles. About 2000 vehicles travel intersecting roads Western Road and Taui Street and about 1000 use hall Road daily.
Following consultation and consideration of the feedback, Council would then be presented with a recommended option and decide whether to proceed. It is expected that NZTA will be a contributor to the preferred option funding.
Go to p50 of the meeting agenda to read the full report on this matter. The report includes details about the three options proposed for consultation.
See the presentation slides relating to this matter at THIS LINK.
Support for consultation on possible Marguerita Street road changes and safety improvements
The committee is being asked to support the council progressing to consultation as part of considering the possible alteration of Marguerita Street to close it to through traffic.
This follows concerns raised by residents about the impacts of heavy traffic on the street which is a mix of residential and commercial/industrial and is also used as a through-road between Te Ngae Road and Fenton Street.
See p78 of the meeting agenda to read the full report on this matter.
Rural School Road Safety Review and option to extend to all schools
Elected members will receive an update on the development and progress of the Rural School Road Safety Review (RSRSR) project including presentation of general findings, recommendations and evidence for future investment.
The Committee voted in favour of recommending to Council that it extends this review process district-wide to inform the next NZTA funding application round for the years 2021 – 2024).
The Committee also approved a motion moved by Rotorua Rural Community Board representative Bryce Heard and seconded by Cr Fisher Wang that Council notes that the board, if it is feasible, will fast track safety solutions for rural schools using its devolved funding.
See p61 of the meeting agenda to view the full report on this matter.
Updates in brief
The operational report provides a round-up of updates and progress on projects, work programmes and services from across the council organisation.
Go to p17 of the meeting agenda to view the report.
Today’s meeting was livestreamed and the recording can be accessed via THIS LINK on Council’s website or via Council’s YouTube channel HERE.