Bundaberg and District Chamber of Commerce has issued a letter to CBD staff and businesses regarding parking in the centre of town. Picture: Mike Knott
Bundaberg and District Chamber of Commerce has issued a letter to CBD staff and businesses regarding parking in the centre of town. Picture: Mike Knott

Relax on fines presents CBD parking problem

THE Bundaberg and District Chamber of Commerce has issued a letter to businesses and employees in the CBD after a relaxation in parking regulations unveiled a new problem.

This comes after a petition was submitted to Bundaberg Regional Council by local business owners regarding council's decision to not enforce parking tickets as part of a COVID-19 relief package.

Last month, Division 1 councillor Jason Bartels said several CBD business owners were concerned the softening of parking restrictions were encouraging the use of parking areas by staff from other businesses for lengthy periods.

Council chief executive officer Stephen Johnston said he was aware of the parking issue happening in a "few pockets".

In the issued letter, Chamber president Tim Sayre requested employees and business owners refrain from parking in the CBD and continued to use all-day parking that would have been used prior to the spread of coronavirus.

"Parking restrictions in the CBD were relaxed by the Bundaberg Regional Council as part of its COVID-19 relief responses, developed in March, and while well-intentioned, Council understands this has encouraged some CBD staff to park in spaces that would otherwise be available for shoppers and deliveries," the letter reads.

"One of the Chamber's strategies for making sure our local businesses can continue operating in this difficult period, is to encourage people to keep shopping, and this includes our CBD.

"Unfortunately, if shoppers have difficulty finding a car park due to all-day parking, they are likely to go elsewhere, and that won't help any businesses working to recover.

"The Chamber of Commerce would ask that if you are working in or around the CBD, to use the appropriate all-day carparking areas, helping to make sure customers are able to continue shopping in our great CBD."

Ritchies Jewellers owner Trent Cullum said he didn't know of the petition submitted to council but said parking was more important than it has ever been.

"COVID-19 has definitely impacted us, but not as much as other businesses (probably due to us having a jewellery and watchmaking workshop) so we are lucky," Mr Cullum said.

"At the moment, I think parking is more important than it ever has been.
"We need every customer we can get, and if we lose business because of lazy staff and business owners not wanting to walk 200m to get to work, that is inexcusable.

"Business owners really should strongly encourage their staff not to take parks.

"It just makes good business sense. It's a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned."

A copy of the petition submitted to and tabled in council was requested by the NewsMail, but a spokesman said council could not be provide a copy due to privacy concerns.