Transport, parking revamp on city centre wish-list

Zoe KeenanGeraldton Guardian
Residents want parallel parking abolished in Marine Terrace, a forum has been told.
Camera IconResidents want parallel parking abolished in Marine Terrace, a forum has been told. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

Cheaper public transport, free parking, more public toilets and better lighting were just some of the suggestions made at a public forum on improving Geraldton’s city centre.

Community members voiced their opinions about the City of Greater Geraldton’s CBD revitalisation plan at a recent event hosted by Pollinators and Progress Midwest.

The City’s proposals focus on creating a comfortable, innovative and exciting place for people to visit to boost tourism and increase vibrancy in the CBD.

Highlighted in the discussion was the need for cheaper transport options — the free CAT buses operating in Perth’s CBD were an example — but it was suggested Uber would not be a good idea as it could put local taxi businesses out of work.

The cost of parking in the CBD was discussed and concluded with a suggestion from the crowd for one hour of free parking at each paid parking section.

Residents and business owners also voiced the need for public toilets, lighting at night, more parklets — as demonstrated on Marine Terrace in front of Fleur Cafe — and getting rid of parallel parking along Marine Terrace.

Geraldton’s small business sector was quoted as adding to the vibrancy of the city and it was suggested there should be an incubator hub for retailers and pop-up businesses to occupy.

A big topic of conversation was Lot 601 Foreshore Drive, which is currently used for free parking.

Most residents and business owners agreed it was an unattractive space.

One suggestion was that the fence be taken down and trees planted and that the space continue to be used for free parking.

Others suggested it shouldn’t be parking at all and grass should be planted so it could become a greener, beautified space in the CBD.

Mayor Shane Van Styn attended the event and responded to suggestions.

In terms of public amenities, Mr Van Styn said the main barrier was the huge costs associated with building and maintaining them.

He said the average parking time in the CBD was an hour and so by providing free parking for an hour, the City would lose money on parking spaces.

However, he encouraged people to write to the City of Greater Geraldton with their opinions around parking costs, as they were to be reviewed.

He said suggestions such as more parklets and losing the parallel parking along Marine Terrace were things the City was interested in seeing done, but these suggestions had received a negative response from business owners.

Mr Van Styn said a retail incubator hub to bring new pop-up retailers into the CBD and create more vibrancy was a great idea, but the issue of rents would need to be looked at.

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