OUR SAY | Parking proposal another possible solution to shopping problems

As the city’s lack of shopping options continues to dominate conversations Orange City Centre management has come up with a solution designed to entice more people to shop for longer.

According to an application before Orange City Council tomorrow centre management would like to see the shopping centre’s car park time extended from two hours to three.

Not only will the extended hours entice people to park and presumably shop at the centre, it will also entice shoppers to take full advantage of the extra retail and food choices which will be available once the redeveloped Myer site opens.

Centre manager Nicole Chapman admitted that the centre is currently “experiencing low traffic flow” and feels that offering customers increased parking time will benefit the centre.

There’s less discretionary spending and this, coupled with a perceived lack of retail choices in Orange, must mean the retail sector, not just the City Centre, is feeling some pain.

“Post development the Centre will have approximately 60 retail stores, therefore two hours is not sufficient time for customers to meet and shop,” she said.

According to Mrs Chapman “most large centres offer the first three hours free, therefore we would like to introduce the same”.

She said it would also mean there would be no parking enforcement on Saturdays as council parking officers did not work past midday.

The shopping centre is right to do all it can to attract shoppers and there’s no denying that the ongoing drought is impacting everyone.

There’s less discretionary spending and this, coupled with a perceived lack of retail choices in Orange, must mean the retail sector, not just the City Centre, is feeling some pain.

Add to this the ongoing popularity of online shopping and you’ve got a retail sector that’s doing it tough.

Perhaps the ease of sitting at home on the lounge and making your shopping choices in warmth is viewed as a better option than having to dodge the possibility of a parking fine for outstaying the time you’ve been allotted to shop.

Let’s hope that any initiative designed to entice shoppers to linger longer and spend more money is given serious consideration.

There’s no denying Orange’s retail sector has suffered greatly since the departure of Myer so let’s hope an upswing is coming not only for the sake of all of those in the retail sector, but for the future of the city.

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