SUPER SQUEEZE ME: Parking at Hungry Jacks. Photo: Adam Hourigan
SUPER SQUEEZE ME: Parking at Hungry Jacks. Photo: Adam Hourigan Adam Hourigan

Carparks v shops in the plan

IF WE aren't fuming about petrol prices or raging about the state of our roads, it's car parking that cops a thrashing.

Finding a parking space at some places around the Clarence Valley is enough to send you grey, but when The Daily Examiner took to Facebook to ask you which carparks topped your worst list, there were four that outshone the rest, and for different reasons.

Of the 70 comments, Grafton Base Hospital proved a popular choice as people agreed there were never enough spaces.

One Facebook commenter said GBH "definitely wins the award" for worst place to park.

"The parking at the hospital is shocking especially if it is in visiting hours. Not ideal," Dulcie Anne said.

Also topping the list was the ever-tight Supercheap Auto/Subway/Hungry Jacks carpark in South Grafton, but for design reasons as well as space issues.

April Grant was adamant this carpark took the winning, or losing, gong.

"The Supercheap/ Subway/ Hungry Jack's car park is really bad," she wrote.

"This compounds over school holidays forcing many cars to park in the street and makes that whole area a dangerous intersection with cars everywhere."

> > > Editorial - Readers spot a problem

The select few car parks outside Maclean Spar proved another hair-raiser for motorists, again with minimal spaces and difficult manoeuvrability.

And Coles in South Grafton also made the list for its squishy spaces and tight corners, but Facebook commenter Chris Chamberlain had an easy fix.

"South Coles is tight, but if you suck at parking, walk the extra 20m and park in the middle, it's hardly ever full. Easy fix," he wrote.

Clarence Valley Council director for environment, planning and community Des Schroder said two of the these carparks met minimum standard requirements, while the other two were constructed before a standard was implemented. He said that was where the issues sprouted for GBH and Maclean Spar.

"All old hospitals have a parking problem because of this," Mr Schroder said.

"And the Maclean Spar - that was built in the mid 1800s where there was no arrangement for parking."

But shoppers will breathe a sigh of relief once the new Maclean IGA is built, boasting 100 car park spaces, despite the minimum standard for that size supermarket being only 60.

Back up river, Mr Schroder said the Supercheap Auto carpark was "hard to get in and out of," but traffic studies submitted at the development application process met requirements.

"As long as developers meet the minimum standard required, it is up to them how they arrange it," he said.

"Quite frankly, there is a fine line between having more shop space and having more parking space in the area they have to work with."

Developers have to toss up whether they will sacrifice shop space for roomy parking spots, or cram lots in to get more shop space, at the risk of frightening off customers due to the hairy parking.

"This is what we've seen with Coles (South Grafton). They've met minimum requirements, but just tried to fit as many parks in as possible, so it gets pretty tight in there," Mr Schroder said.

So while we can complain, all we want about rotten parking spaces, Mr Schroder said there wasn't much anyone could do.

"It does drive us a bit crazy at times, but they do meet minimum requirements. Let's just thank our lucky stars we don't have to pay for parking like our city-slicker pals."

Minimum standard

In 2006, the Clarence Valley Council adopted a development control plan that means the minimum standard for a facility is one car park per 5sq m or for restaurants one car park for every six seats. Each case is looked at individually to take into account street parking etc, but Mr Schroder said this was the general rule.

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