New Plymouth councillors recommend up to $350k for carpark land
Jan. 29, 2020
New Plymouth District councillors have recommended spending up to $350,000 to buy land near the foot of Mt Taranaki for a new car park.
The car park at the North Egmont Visitor Centre has long had issues with overcrowding and an attempt to set up a shuttle bus service came to an abrupt end last year.
The council is now considering an offer to buy 9284 square metres of dairy farm land at 2138 Egmont Rd, near the edge of the national park, to build a car park, with a shuttle then taking visitors up to the visitor centre.
The purchase of the property will be for a negotiated amount of $290,000 (zero rated for GST), with the total price , including subdivision, not to exceed $350,000.
It would be the second car park the council has built for visitors to the park.
In 2018 it opened a $1.6 million off-road car park with toilet and water facilities on 1.15 hectares at the top end of Mangorei Rd.
New Plymouth District Council infrastructure manager David Langford told councillors at Tuesday's Strategy and Operations Committee that the number of parking spaces at the Egmont Rd site had not been decided and design was yet to be finalised.
"What I would say is the site is only marginally smaller than the new carpark that we have built at the top of Mangorei Rd, so that would give you an indication of what's likely to be possible," he said.
New Plymouth mayor Neil Holdom said NPDC had had to pick up the tab to keep up with the "massive" population and tourism growth.
"We have this wonderful Taranaki Mounga that's a treasure, an ancestor, it's a guardian, it brings this amazing fertility and all this rain, and it has been neglected for decades by the Government.
"The investments that NPDC has been making, and with some support from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund, at Mangorei Rd and now on Egmont Rd, just reflects that we haven't been able to wait for DOC while they invest money in other areas."
The car park at the Visitor Centre was monitored daily over the peak holiday period from December 28 to January 12 with the one car in, one car out system, which will continue until the end of March, and also during February 7-9 with Waitangi Day and a cruise ship visiting Port Taranaki.
It has been a very busy couple of weeks, Langford said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.
"The car park has usually been full by about 7am."
The lines varied according to the time of day and how busy it was, but the average waiting time was about 30 minutes, he said. This will most likely continue yearly until the new carpark is operating, but it depends on the number of visitors and how busy it gets each year.
A decision on the new car park will ultimately be made at full council. The overall cost of the new carpark is likely to be about $980,000, although some outside funding will be sought.