Anyone regularly driving to Armidale to fly on from its regional airport should get prepared for parking fees being introduced at the facility.
Drivers are set to cop a $10 overnight parking fee at the airport as Armidale Regional Council moves to shift its parking infrastructure spend onto airline users rather than its ratepayers.
The new fees are:
- Parking for up to three hours is free.
- Parking for more than three hours, but not past midnight is $5.
- And overnight parking is $10.
Safety concerns are being touted as a primary reason for the new parking.
“Overflow parking commonly occurs on the grassy embankment adjacent to the airport car park facility and/or in unsafe and unmarked areas,” planning and design assistant service leader Leah Cook said in her report.
“Most of the offending parking occurs on uneven terrain, which is often absent of street lighting.”
It also said the surfaces were often slippery and muddy, and that Council considered this an unacceptable risk.
Revenue raised will be retained within the airport operating fund.
And a feasibility study concluded paid parking would generate sufficient funds to significantly contribute to upgrading and maintaining parking infrastructure.
Almost 300 cars use airport parking each day, according to the council, about three times the current 93 spaces available.
Following consultation, including 88 formal submissions, council found 45 per cent of respondents favored the change.
A lack of public transport, distance lived from Armidale, and the added expenses were primary reasons for opposition.
Council will also launch an investigation into public transport to and from the airport, and will develop a communications strategy to sell the change to the community.
Fees will come into effect after the airport expansion project is complete.