Business owners in one of Perth's leading shopping and entertainment strips believe a new paid parking plan may spell the end for retailers in that area.
The Town of Victoria Park voted this week to endorse a comprehensive parking plan that includes the introduction of two-hour paid parking along both sides of the 3.2km Albany Highway retail strip and along selected intersecting roads.
The plan, which recently won a national award from the Australian Parking Industry, has been criticised by retailers on the strip as a money-making strategy for the council.
Fiona Waters-Fiora, from Window's Boutique on Albany Highway, said she and many other shop owners felt ignored and neglected by the council.
"Retailers are already struggling as it is - paid parking will only make things worse," she said.
"It will mean fewer shoppers and inevitably less income when we still have to pay rent and wages - no wonder we are seeing so many empty shops on the strip. We've signed petitions, put in submissions and they've been ignored."
Music Park owner Barry Drysdale said the council was making money at the expense of businesses.
"It's just revenue raising and we will be the ones who suffer," he said.
Victoria Park chief executive Arthur Kyron said the council received responses from about 100 retailers on Albany Highway which accounted for only 10 per cent of the total businesses on the strip.
"Paid parking has been around for many years in Perth and retailers in other parts of the city haven't gone out of business because of its introduction," he said. "We are introducing a nominal fee that is far less than other areas.
"We aren't trying to raise revenue but instead are using paid parking as one way to manage the parking congestion our community is facing."
The size of the fee will be determined early next year.
Ms Waters-Fiora agreed that something needed to be done to manage parking in the town centre but said the strategy was flawed.
"By making it paid on the strip and having free parking on nearby residential streets, they are just pushing those all-day commuters on to our front lawns," she said."I support paid parking when it's implemented in a way to encourage shoppers and discourage those who abuse the system but this is certainly not the right way."
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