DRIVERS will have to cough up or move on in the city CBD with new parking meters installed around town.
Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) had already installed new two-hour parking meters at the top end of Bourke Street before councillors officially gave the strategy the nod on Tuesday night.
And, Peel Street could be next on the chopping block as the council works to free up congestion in the CBD.
Parking at Town Hall will no longer be free and a two-hour limit is in place, the same goes for Bourke, Fitzroy and White streets between Kable Avenue and Marius streets.
It's all designed to encourage people to be able to find a park in the city centre, TRC infrastructure and works manager Murray Russell said.
"These are the areas where we only want people to stay for a couple of hours to do their shopping and get done what they need to do," he said.
"Unfortunately, the best way to encourage people to get in and get the job done is to have parking fees in those areas."
Free parking is still available a few blocks outside the CBD, and on Peel Street, for people who work at businesses in town.
The council put in the meters before a decision was formally made because councillors had already endorsed a broader parking plan, Mr Russell said.
"That's always going to be a challenge," he said.
"Obviously if the council changed their mind those parking meters are fairly easy to put in or pull back out and it would have been a fairly straightforward job if they decided that strategy was inappropriate."
The council has worked closely with the staff on the strategy, mayor Col Murray said.
"Council has pretty much endorsed that strategy, it's something we will review continuously and I think we need to be mindful of the purpose of those parking meters," he said.
"They're not there just because the council chooses to be nasty to its residents, they're there to fund the carparking infrastructure of the future.
"I think it's a very fair way of providing new carparks or upgrades to existing carparks, it means it's paid for by the people who actually use them."
Congestion on the main drag is still a problem, and Mr Russell said the council would eventually need to consider implementing paid parking to encourage people to move on.
"Unfortunately, one of the primary drivers for people to choose where they park is cost, and the council has over many years taken the view that Peel Street should remain unpaid parking," he said.
"That's something the council will need to consider over the coming years as Peel Street gets busier."
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