Staff told to clear off
By TOBY WALKER
Chamber moves to fix Yamba CBD parking problems
FOR a town used to measuring its profits by the annual influx of summer tourism, Yamba's town centre looked unusually busy yesterday.
With cars filling all of the available parking spaces in central parts of Yamba and Coldstream streets by late morning, retailers should have been rubbing their hands together in anticipation of a brisk day's trade.
But looks can be deceiving, according to the Yamba and District Chamber of Commerce.
During its monthly meeting on Monday night, the chamber discussed the problem of shop owners and their employees parking their vehicles for up to six hours on the street, in turn robbing potential customers of parking spaces.
It was an issue that had been 'simmering' for some time, according to chamber spokesman Ken Adams, and he said all 12 of the traders at Monday's meeting agreed something needed to be done to free up more parking spaces.
"Basically, the chamber is concerned about business people and their employees parking in the street for long periods of time in an area which is clearly designated for one-hour parking only," he said.
"If you've got, say, 50 car spaces and 20 of them are taken up by cars that aren't moving, then you've got problems, and that's happening now.
"There's plenty of other parking for people who are working on Coldstream or Yamba streets but they might just have to walk an extra 50 metres to get to work."
Mr Adams said the chamber did not want to point the finger at individual businesses, but was fearful of town centre traders losing potential customers to Yamba Fair and Maclean because of the parking frustrations.
He said many of the businesses along the streets had available parking spaces behind their shops but continued to park on the main streets. In instances where businesses were without rear access parking, Mr Adams suggested they use all-day parking spots near the Yamba Bowling Club and on vacant lots on River Street.
The chamber was preparing to document the problem in a letter to Clarence Valley Council this week and hoped an information leaflet explaining the problems to traders might discourage them from parking in front of their businesses.
If that fails, then the chamber has not ruled out requesting the council become more vigilant by issuing fines to those who overstay their welcome in the one-hour parking zones, although Mr Adams said that would obviously be a last resort.
But parking on the street was more than just a question of convenience, according to Optus store employee Brendan Hammond.
"If I don't park in front of the shop then cars like four wheel drives and larger diesel cars come in and out all the time and with an open door shop all the fumes can flood the small store really quickly," he said.