Parking tickets are coming back to Nelson due to complaints of drivers habitually overstaying parking time limits.
At the beginning of the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 in March, Nelson City Council made the decision to suspend all parking fees in council car parks until the end of June.
While the fees will not be reintroduced until July, there will now be enforcement for those who ignore parking time limits.
Nelson Deputy Mayor Judene Edgar said the move was necessary to ensure city centre retailers were assisted at a time when they needed it the most.
“We have had reports from businesses that customers have had to cancel appointments due to being unable to find a park.
"It's getting pretty stressful for some of them – that's not what we want and that was not the intention of [the initiative]."
Edgar said it was likely many people were not deliberately flouting the rules, and perhaps were unaware that time limits were still in place.
The council said parking wardens had spent the past week monitoring the situation and found that 23 per cent of the cars they observed had overstayed parking limits.
Occupancy rates at city centre car parks were consistently above 95 per cent and there was an increase in the number of cars that were parked dangerously.
Throughout June, the council will be replacing all parking meters with new pay-by-plate machines.
The council said it would enforce time limits when the meters were replaced but the new machines would not be able to accept payment until July 1.
All city centre streets and parking squares in Nelson have time limits, so the council is warning that even with free parking, there would still be penalties for those breaking the rules.
A council spokesman said enforcement would not start immediately.
"Council is putting signs onto parking meters and in car parks, and communicating the change via social media over the next few days and enforcement will commence early next week."
Parking do's and dont's
- Drivers do not need to display a ticket or pay to park until July 1
- Drivers must only stay for the sign-posted time limit of their park
- Drivers that overstay the limit are liable to receive a fine
- Drivers that park dangerously (eg. too close to an intersection) can also be fined