IT’S only a small slice of land at the end of the Jetty Strip but it’s a big deal for local business houses.
They say their summer trading success hinges on the rail-owned parcel being made available for much-needed parking.
The land, which is for sale, has been used in the past for that purpose but now it has been blocked off.
The traders want the city council to step in and open it back up or, better still, buy it to create permanent parking in the precinct.
“We came to work three months ago and found there was no car park there anymore,” said Tracey Hickson, the owner of RSVP Bridal.
“When it was open people were parking there and it was full all the time. You could park there when you wanted to.
“It will impact seriously on businesses if it is not re-opened in time for the busy Christmas trade.”
The owner of the Foreshores Cafe and Piccolo Restaurant, Craig Scott, said parking on the Jetty Strip was already at a premium considering the 30 business there had only been allocated 20 parking spaces between them.
“This is the jewel in the crown of Coffs Harbour and it needs a polish – we need more car parking spaces,” Mr Scott said.
“It’s a ridiculous situation when you consider we have potentially 1200 patrons on a daily basis with restaurant trade alone.”
The Jetty Village Shopping Centre licensee, Greg Softley, said long-term parking at the Jetty had to be addressed.
“There has been a lot more commercial and residential development but zero work on car parking,” Mr Softley said.
The business leaders are also worried the lack of parking will lead to customers being fined for parking illegally – already some tradesman have copped $200 fines in a no-stopping zone near the Jetty Dive Centre because they had nowhere else to park.
The businesses are also concerned the land has become overgrown since people are no longer allowed to park there and it could be teeming with vermin.
Jetty Dive Centre owner Mike Davey said the council had been looking at buying the land parcel for parking and rail authorities were now trying to ‘force the issue’ by fencing it off.
“We are hoping that if the council can’t buy the land it can enter into a short-term lease with the railways for car parking purposes,” Mr Davey said.
Hog’s Breath Cafe owner Justin Squires is anxious about where people will park during New Year’s Eve celebrations.
“We’re going to have something like 400 diners that night. You tell me where they’re going to park,” Mr Squires said.