MORE paid parking in Mt Lawley could be the final straw for struggling businesses, say local traders.
Recently Stirling councillors voted to abolish free parking on Field Street and in more sections of Beaufort Street.
Motorists parking on Field Street or at 679/680 Beaufort Street will now get the first 60 minutes for free, but will then have to pay $2 per hour.
Michael Matusik says there are seven vacant shops near his business, Matusik Jewellers, on Beaufort Street.
“We’ve been here for nearly 40 years and we’ve never seen this many vacant businesses in the area,” he says.
Mt Lawley Hardware Store owner Glen Stagg says the timing of the decision is poor.
“I know it might be the way of the future; I just think at the moment it could be great to get Mount Lawley back on its feet again,” he says.
“Mount Lawley is a little bit quiet at the moment: I think all the businesses around here need all the help they can get to survive.”
Stirling Cr Elizabeth Re, who voted against the paid parking, says the retail slump is not confined to Mount Lawley, but the new fees will make the situation worse.
She says the council did not specifically consult with Mount Lawley stakeholders before making their decision.
“Collectively finding the groups that are most affected and actually saying we’ll have a meeting with you is what they should be doing.”
“Consultation before the event saves the council from retrospective changes and shows the community we’re being open, transparent and accountable,” Cr Re says.
“They’re going and endorsing policies at the council level without consulting and advertising it to the public.”
Stirling council community development director Trevor Holland says 800 people responded to consultation on the city’s parking strategy.
Cr Re notes that councillors voted not to introduce paid parking at the Main Street plaza precinct in Osbourne Park after discussions were held with key stakeholders. “Why didn’t they do the same thing for Mount Lawley?” she asked.
by ALICE ANGELONI