SHOPPERS will soon be able to park under the Orange Central shopping centre for two hours at a time and leave and return each day as many times as they like when the controversial three-hour daily limit is scrapped and the car park goes back under Orange City Council’s control.
But the car park will only be patrolled three days per week, on a random basis, for a maximum of 12 hours each week when the centre’s management Charter Hall and Orange City Council reach an agreement for council rangers to take over.
Last August, Charter Hall asked the council to monitor the car park for free, despite previously paying $32,420 per year for the service before they contracted out the car park’s management to a private firm and imposed a three-hour daily limit.
Council spokesman Allan Reeder would not say how much the centre would have to pay, but said the two parties were expected to finalise an agreement for council rangers to patrol the car park in the next six weeks.
Until then the centre’s current arrangements will continue.
“The agreement, which is yet to be signed, includes provision for the centre operators to pay Orange City Council for the costs of providing rangers to patrol the car park,” he said.
Coffee Club owner Zeana Johnson is looking forward to the car park reverting back to the old system and believes it will make it less confusing for shoppers.
“It will be more clear-cut,” she said.
“Because the car park is split people thought they could park for three hours under Kmart.”
But she would prefer the entire car park to have a three-hour limit with shoppers allowed to leave and return as often as they like.
Cr Chris Gryllis was a key driver behind forcing the car park to revert to the old system to comply with a covenant the centre’s developers signed with the council.
“It’s pleasing to see commonsense prevails,” he said.
“All the council’s requirements and conditions will apply.”
Mr Reeder said the changes would bring the centre into line with the time limits in place at other council-controlled car parks across Orange.
“The 323 space car park is a significant source of parking for shoppers in Orange and it’s important that it be shared fairly for the good of businesses and shoppers,” he said.
A Charter Hall spokeswoman confirmed the company was in discussions with the council, but was unable to comment further until an agreement was reached.