Council gives ground in parking meter war

Amanda Parkinson, of Unanderra, was one of the first drivers to take advantage of the new 50¢ parking spots in Wollongong’s CBD yesterday afternoon. Picture: DAVE TEASEThere were mixed feelings among business owners and shoppers when Wollongong City Council yesterday cut its parking fees.David Saveski at Bar Pellegrini cafe welcomed the move, saying his customers would be happier paying 50 cents for 30 minutes.”A lot of our customers have said $2 is a lot of money, especially if they’re just buying coffee, so mentally 50 cents is a lot better,” he said.Shopper Amanda Parkinson was one of the first people to take advantage of the cheaper spots when she popped into the CBD yesterday afternoon.”I’m very happy,” she said.”But I would have paid the $2 just to save driving around in a parking station.”Ms Parkinson thought parking meters had improved the overall parking situation.”It hasn’t affected me too much because I don’t come to town often, but now when you just want to run in and out you can always find a park,” she said.Kitt Couture boutique co-owners Kristy Trajkovski and Jade Mulley said they thought the new rates were fairer.And shopper Andrew Selby was more likely to park on the street now that the flat rate had been dropped.”I know they’ve got to charge something but $2 was like parking in Sydney,” Mr Selby said.”I think it’s very fair to lower them.”Contractor Andy Gunthorp said people would still be deterred because they needed change to feed the meters, while The Chelsea salon owner Lina Sorrentino said the new rates would not make a difference.”I still disagree with parking meters. Our customers are still complaining, they don’t like them full stop,” Ms Sorrentino said.The mixed feelings on the street were echoed in comments posted on the Illawarra Mercury’s website, with the majority saying they would never pay for parking in Wollongong and meters needed to be removed completely.Others applauded the council for listening to the public. One reader said it was “about time they based it on hours instead of a flat fee” and it was good to see revenue being spent on the city.

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