Business owners angry about council's paid parking proposal

A PLAN to establish three new paid and leased parking lots in the Bathurst CBD has angered nearby business owners.

Councillors have approved a recommendation from Bathurst Regional Council staff to convert the three parking areas behind the former TAFE building into paid parking lots.

Two of the lots will be offered to nearby businesses on a yearly lease while the third car park will be made available to the general public under a paid parking scheme.

Is it expected the leased spots will be offered to businesses for around $1000 a year while the paid public parking would cost $2 an hour or $10 a day.

Council’s parking officers would patrol the parking lots and they would be closed from 6.30pm to 8.30am each day to ensure the ongoing security of the site.

Fiona Miller, owner of Pantano’s Bar and Grill on the corner of Howick and William streets, said many business owners weren’t happy about the decision.

Before council officially took over ownership of the TAFE precinct in August, workers in nearby businesses were able to park there free all day.

Ms Miller said she and other business owners were facing the prospect of paying thousands of dollars a year for what could be restricted access to the car park.

“For my business personally I need four car spaces, so that’s $4000 a year,” she said,

But her real concern is council’s proposal to close the parking area from 6.30pm to 8am each day.

On busy nights her staff can work as late as 11pm and she is concerned for their safety.

“I have 20 staff members, half of which are young females, and I don’t want them walking to the RSL car park or the McDonald’s car park late at night,” Ms Miller said.

“I will not allow them to park next to the restaurant [on the street] because that will cost me business. There are not enough car parking spaces as it is.”

Lesley Archer from the Acropole shared the same concerns.

“What I’m concerned about is the safety of my shift workers. Where are they going to park?” she said.

Emma Suringa, who works at Freeform Osteopathy in William Street, said the situation was a nightmare.

“If we are paying $1000 a year for a car space we need to be able to utilise it 24/7,”she said.

When questioned whether business owners would be able to access leased car spots after 6.30pm, a council spokesperson conceded the issue “hasn't been resolved yet”.