PARKING pressure behind the former City Link shopping plaza has reached breaking point, and some local business owners have said if a solution isn't found soon they may not survive.
Currently Woolworths, the GP Super Clinic, the new Post Office and businesses in the Crawford Centre arcade are sharing the limited amount of available car park space between them, and things are set to get even busier when the new Kmart store- which won't include its own new car park- opens in December.
The existing car park space immediately behind the City Link Plaza and opposite the Crawford Centre has been closed for construction of Kmart, and Queanbeyan Gifts and Gadgets store owner Barry Taylor said this had stretched him to breaking point.
"I know business is tough at the moment, but this hasn't helped us at all. Our customers just can't access us," he said.
"The council wants people to shop in Queanbeyan, but they don't make it easy at times. In the 12 years I've had the business, this has been the toughest year for sure.
"On a busy Thursday night there's not enough parking for Woolies customers, let alone everyone else in the mix," he said.
Nearby at the Hammer'n'Cycle bike store, manager Brian Cole said policing time limits at the car parks was important to prevent the many staff members and tradesmen who work in the area from tying up car spots all day.
"It probably is a factor that there's not a lot of car parks here, but it depends a lot on how they're going to police what parks there are.
"Trade has been down, but then trade's down everywhere. It's just the way the economy is," he said.
"We are very season orientated here, but it has been a tough winter," he said.
Further up the Crawford Centre arcade, newsagent owner Ross Allen said Kmart would soon add additional parking pressure to the precinct.
"How they got the DA through without a car park is beyond me," he said.
"It's bad now, and it's only going to get worse. It [parking traffic] comes and goes. Mornings are ok. But businesses here are going downhill. If you can't get a park, ultimately you're losing trade," he said.
Queanbeyan City Council has opted for over $500,000 in financial contributions from developers in lieu of an estimated 62 required parking spaces over the last 5 years due to a lack of available space at the site.
This included over $180,000 from Kmart in lieu of the 19 car parks required by planning guidelines, around $77,000 from the Post Office in lieu of 15 car parks, and $268,000 in lieu of 28 spaces estimated to be needed at the GP Super Clinic.
The funds have been directed into Council's CBD parking fund for future car parks.Mayor Tim Overall said he was aware of the parking concerns in the area and that plans were in motion for additional spaces along Antill Street.
"Council is aware of the concerns of businesses and customers alike and is currently assessing design options for the provision of additional carparking spaces in Antill Street, taking advantage of certain wide verge areas," Cr Overall said.
"While the number of spaces will not be known until design work has been completed, the number of additional spaces will be maximised and will be constructed this financial year.
"Council also encourages drivers, particularly non-shoppers, to utilise the Collett Street car park from time to time when it is convenient to do so," he said.
However former councillor Ann Rocca said that Council had made a mistake when it opted to halve the amount of parking spaces required at the Post Office earlier this year, and then opted to take the reduced number as developer contributions rather than additional parking spaces.
"That was a disgrace in my view. We all know that parking is tight in that part of town, and every developer should be making the maximum contribution for parking that they're required to do," she said.
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