Free parking back on again

WEEKEND parking will be free for three hours in off-street Perth city council carparks in December and January.

Lord mayor Basil Zempilas proposed the motion, which he says is aimed at  “reinvigorating the city by supporting businesses, increasing accessibility, and supporting Western Australians who may be experiencing financial hardship during the holiday period”.

When free parking was trialled last December and January it resulted in a net gain of 16,500 parkers in council carparks. 

But a report by council staff warns it’s hard to validate whether they were people who wouldn’t have otherwise parked in a private carpark, since they don’t have 

data on who’s parking in Wilsons or Secure Parking complexes. It’s possible a chunk of the 16,500 were people who would’ve come to the city anyway and just nabbed the free parking instead of paying at a private park.

It’ll cost an estimated $685,000 in lost parking revenue, but the council has enough to cover that in its Covid-19 rebound reserve. 

Mr Zempilas said: “During our campaigns one of the issues that many people raised with us was a need to help stimulate as much foot traffic and indeed as much traffic as possible through the CBD.

“It’s been a tough year for those operating retail outlets and businesses in the city, and this is an opportunity for us early on in our tenure to show those ratepayers that we listen to them and we understand it’s been a difficult year.

“I’m also very keen to promote to the wider community the City of Perth being the home of Christmas in 2020 and the holiday period in 2021, and I think three hours free parking is a good way to demonstrate we’re serious about that.

“We know that many of the shopping centres offer free parking and a lot of it. And to our retailers to have an opportunity to compete they need some assistance in that area, and I think this is a good start.”

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