By CRAIG McTEAR
CHRISTMAS shoppers using Coffs Harbour's Castle Street car park are about to feel a bit safer.
From today, the city council will install up to 15 security cameras in the all day areas of the car park on the top three floors at a cost of $80,000.
The idea is to deter anti-social behaviour and to encourage more people, particularly those who work in the city centre, to park in the all day sections.
This will free up more spaces for short-term use.
Up to 260 spaces are available for use on the top three floors.
"Providing adequate parking in the city centre is a key focus for Council," said Coffs Harbour City Council's general manager Stephen Sawtell.
"Improving the security of Castle Street car park so that it is used to its full capacity has been identified as a good way of addressing the need for more city centre parking in the short-term.
"Providing adequate parking in the city centre is a key focus for council."
"Council is very aware that, while we encourage the growth of business in the CBD area, we also have to make sure that growth is accompanied by carefully planned parking opportunities."
The security cameras are part of a general upgrade of the car park outlined in the council's budget.
Work has already been completed on the reconstruction of the Vernon Street stairwell of the car park and structural repairs are also in the process of being carried out.
Motorists who use regularly use the top three floors of the carpark have been asked to be aware that around 70 spaces will be blocked off all day today, while the camera housings, poles and cabling are installed.
The council apologises for the brief inconvenience caused by the security upgrade work.
The cameras are expected to be installed and fully operational before Christmas.