Nelson City Council made the decision at the start of COVID-19 Alert Level 4 to suspend all parking fees in the city centre until the end of June 2020. This measure was designed to encourage people to visit Nelson’s city centre as we moved through the alert levels and support local businesses in their quest to bring our high streets back to life.
Drivers parking for free were asked to respect sign-posted time limits so there would be enough parking for everyone to access the city centre, but Nelson City Council has received feedback that some drivers have been staying longer than the allowed time limits, meaning it has become increasingly difficult to find a park and this is not aiding the economic recovery essential to city centre businesses.
Council parking wardens have spent the past week monitoring the situation and found that 23% of the cars they observed had overstayed parking limits. Occupancy rates at city centre car parks were consistently above 95% and there was an increase in the number of cars that were parked dangerously.
Throughout June, Council will be replacing all parking metres with new pay-by-plate machines. Council will enforce time limits throughout this period but the new machines won't be able to accept payment until July 1.
All city centre streets and parking squares in Nelson have time limits, so even with no payment for parking, there will be enforcement.
Nelson Deputy Mayor Judene Edgar says the move is necessary to ensure city centre retailers are assisted at a time when they need it the most.
“We have had reports from businesses that customers have had to cancel appointments due to being unable to find a park. That’s obviously frustrating for people who are now starting to rebuild following the shutdown.”
Nelson’s new pay-by-plate meters will create no paper ticket waste, allow people to pay using PayWave, coin or via a new parking app and allow users to extend parking within time limits without returning to their car.