By Farida Master
Staff and tenants at Botany Town Centre are upset over management’s decision to limit parking spaces to employees.
From March 2, it is a first-in first-served. If staff miss out, they must find parking off site.
Claudia McNulty, an employee who works at the town centre, says that the closest parking that is free for staff is at least 1.2km away in suburban streets.
Urging people who are working at Botany Town Centre to sign an online petition that has collected 3500 signatures, she says that while designated parking spaces for staff will free up extra slots for customers, “without staff there would be no revenue for the mall that has just had $78 million worth of redevelopment”.
The petition reads: “For the people who are working in restaurants and Hoyts where finish times come close to, if not past, 11pm; it is not safe to be walking down the road a few kilometres to their cars.
“While it is understood that parking restrictions and payments are part of Auckland life, paid parking is generally contained to the city centre and areas such as Newmarket and Ponsonby, not the likes of humble Botany.
“There are plenty of reviews on Google that rave about how plentiful parking is at Botany Town Centre.
“During busy periods such as Christmas and New Year’s, staff should be able to continue parking across at the Botany College as has been arranged for years to free-up parking for the valued customers.
The Botany Town Centre staff is from all walks of life: uni and high school students with part time jobs to serve you food or help you find a different size in that shirt you like.
“They’re the lovely travel agents that help you book your holidays or the hairdresser that you see every few months to get your hair done.
“They’re the obliging cleaners that point you in the direction of the shop you’ve been looking for while cleaning up around you.
“This change will impact our safety and security.
So, please, help us bring attention to this issue by signing this petition to stop paid parking at Botany Town Centre,” signed Claudia McNulty.
Botany Town Centre manager Kerrie Hughes told the Times: “Customer experience is a top priority for Botany Town Centre, and this includes ease of access to parking.
“Following feedback from customers and tenants on parking-related matters, we undertook a complete review of the current car park monitoring services and identified changes to improve the experience for customers visiting the centre.
“We are aware of the online petition. Since introducing enforcement and paid parking for our tenants and staff, we have engaged in discussions with our tenants to understand their immediate concerns. As a result we have identified an additional overflow area for tenants and staff to use if the three designated parking areas are full.
“We want to reassure customers, retailers and staff that safety is a priority. We encourage anyone who doesn’t feel safe to contact Centre Security or NZ Police directly,” she said.
In answer to that Claudia points that the overflow parking is the street behind the town centre, which is residential. As for the paid parking for staff and tenants she says, “At this stage it is a $3 flat rate, which at five days a week would be an extra $700 or so per year.”
More recently, centre management have sent an updated notice that says the staff may move their cars closer after the mall closes at 6pm, or Thursday and Friday late nights at 9pm, says Claudia.
“The notice mentions that there is CCTV as well as sufficient lighting on site and that staff no longer have to notify the centre if they are in on their rostered day off if they abide by the other car park rules.”
Claudia says the support they’ve had is overwhelming and she will keep the petition open for the time being, more so since residents at Armory Dr have started complaining that town centre staff have been taking up their parking space and need to find their own.
As we go to press centre manager Hughes responds: “The additional overflow parking for staff and tenants is located on site between two of the designated paid parking areas at Botany Town Centre. We want to reiterate that staff, tenant and customer safety is a priority and parking on site is supported by the security measures we have in place on a daily basis.”