PERTH deputy lord mayor James Limnios says he’s getting “daily complaints” that steep parking prices are chasing customers away from the city.
Earlier this year he tried to push through a 12-month trial of free 30-minute parking in Royal, Lake, James and Hay streets, but with only councillors Reece Harley and Gemma Green supporting the plan, it was “enthusiastically slammed down” by the rest of the council.
With the state in an economic downturn he says they’ve got to lower parking prices. He says some business owners tell him their trade is down 20 to 30 per cent and are in “pure survival mode”.
“We need people to choose us first when shopping, dining, or thinking about entertainment. It’s all about cost and convenience for the customer.
“I don’t know what it will take for council to act on such a pressing issue,” he says. “More ‘For Lease’ signs and vacancies in the city?”
He says he’ll keep plugging away in an attempt to get a free period and also wants free weekend parking in city-controlled carparks.
“I receive daily complaints about the parking fines people receive [and] the cost of parking from both retailers and visitors, to the point where some people visit neighbouring councils to shop or have a coffee where the first hour is free rather than coming to the city for a meeting if they can avoid it. For me this rings alarm bells and it has to stop.”
One big contributor to city parking prices is the Perth Parking Levy. It’s a fee that councils have to pay for every parking bay in the inner city, and it currently sits at $1150 per bay after skyrocketing up 100% in the past five years. The funds are held by the state government and are meant to be spent on public transport projects.
In April lord mayor Lisa Scaffidi urged the state government not to increase the levy this year and Vincent council made a similar plea.
This week the Property Council of WA issued a media release likewise calling for a freeze on the levy, saying “the high price of parking has discouraged shoppers from coming into the CBD, exacerbating the issues faced by the city’s retail industry including low foot traffic and a dwindling economy”.
”The State Government must do everything it can to increase the number of people shopping in the Perth CBD and should commit to not increasing the
Perth Parking Levy in the upcoming State Budget,” PCWA executive director Lino Iacomella said.
“The city centre is facing significant economic challenges following the decline of the investment boom with CBD office vacancies now at 21 per cent. The decline in the number of people working in the CBD has led to a jump in retail vacancies to 16 per cent.
“If less people now work in the CBD, we must look at ways to attract people in from the suburbs. The Perth Parking Levy has driven up the cost of parking, making the city not competitive, compared to the suburban shopping centre that all offer free parking.”
He says “the parking levy is highly inequitable as it only captures a small portion of the cars that contribute to Perth’s congestion issues.”
by DAVID BELL