Parking at the Raglan wharf will once again come under pressure during the peak holiday season, with shoppers, boaties, locals and tourists all competing for prime position.
Raglan Sportfishing Club president Ken Barry and The Wharf Kitchen and Bar owner Helen Rowling are concerned that while the Waikato District Council sends time consulting with the community over a long-term solution, there is no consideration for a short-term fix-it to alleviate congestion in the coming summer months.
The increase in the fishing population using the wharf, Ken says, has been exacerbated by issues with the 2016 Manu Bay break wall rebuild not providing adequate protection with boaties opting to use the safer wharf option to launch their boats.
Added to the wharf parking woes are the Wallis St boardwalk repairs that have been held up due to resource consent issues.
Paid and time-limit parking is one option being explored by the Raglan Community Board but Ken feels this will increase congestion at the wharf as boats line up waiting to launch.
“We believe the status quo should stand with mulit-use of the boardwalk and area opposite the cliff on Wallis St on a first come first served basis, and 48-hour parking for overnighting vessels. When the carpark is full all boaties and visitors to the wharf will have to walk.”
A park and ride service doing a loop from the Raglan Rugby Club to the library and out to the wharf is a solution he would like to see happening as soon as this summer, with visitors and boaties directed to the rugby carpark.
Helen agrees with the park and ride option but believes there needs to be some time-limit parking at the wharf to get some of the visiting vehicles moving and not sitting in carparks all day.
They both agree that wharf parking is at crisis point and how the town is perceived to be dealing with this issue impacts on visitors’ perceptions and overall experience of Raglan.
“We don’t want to stop Raglan’s momentum just because we can’t get the parking sorted. We want our visitors to see that we are actively doing something to solve our parking problems,” she says.