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Christchurch City Council






Committee: Councillor Margaret Murray (Chairman), The Mayor, Ms Vicki Buck, Councillors Graham Berry, Anna Crighton, Newton Dodge, Morgan Fahey, Alister James, Charles Manning and Barbara Stewart.


Principal Adviser Committee Secretary
John Dryden Dennis Morgan
Telephone: 371-1652 Telephone: 371-1437
Fax: 371-1789 Fax: 371-1786








Officer responsible Author
Environmental Policy and Planning Manager Stuart Woods - Senior Transport Planner
Mike Calvert - Transportation Engineer - Policy
Corporate Plan Output: Transport Policy Advice

The purpose of this report is to provide a basis for discussion and decision-making on the provision of parking associated with the impending development of the Art Gallery site (including whether to replace the existing Sheraton site parking). Strategy and Resources Committee resolved at its last meeting that a decision on the number of car parking spaces and their location be deferred until the report of the Traffic Design Group has been considered. The Traffic Design Group report has been received and is available for consideration. It has been an important input to this report.

The Committee will recall recent reports and discussions on this issue (from August 1997) at the Central City, and Strategy and Resources Committees. Consequently, this report, with minor variations, is being presented to these committees this month.


The Art Gallery site is located in the western fringe area of the Central City zone, between the cultural precinct and the central business district. This part of the city is a popular tourist and recreational/arts/cultural area, and is a popular parking area for commuters. It has good access from the rest of the city via the one-way streets. However, the area does not have much parking stock compared to its level of attraction, particularly for evenings and weekends. There are several public parking facilities peripheral to the area (Oxford Terrace and the proposed Farmers and hospital buildings) and the YHA site opposite the Court Theatre; and there are several significant private parking areas (such as the YMCA, Amuri and the proposed temporary parking at King Edward Barracks) which are managed for their own purposes and needs.

The Sheraton site was leased and developed for parking by the Council in August 1988, providing a response to a strong demand. It has provided a partial response to parking difficulties associated with the Arts Centre and cultural precinct in general, to assist in developing and supporting the area. This rationale could still apply in this issue, and is identified in comments in letters discussed in a later section. It should also be noted that it is difficult to develop significant areas of parking in this area for many reasons, and the Art Gallery development/Sheraton site represents probably the last opportunity to meet this challenge with a site of this size for some time.

In April 1995, the Council adopted a Central City Parking Policy. It has a number of sections pertinent in consideration of the provision of parking with the development of the new Art Gallery site. These are outlined below with brief commentary made directly after each:

'Parking Policy

1. That parking is controlled to maximise the economic benefits to the city within acceptable environmental capacity with the primary consideration being the viability of the central city not just the return on parking buildings'.

The 265 parking spaces presently located on the new Art Gallery site appear to be generally accepted as within acceptable environmental capacity. Therefore any likely changes to the parking supply on this site would also not have a major impact on the environmental capacity.

The policy makes it quite clear that there are greater economic benefits in the provision and management of parking in the central city than simply a return on investment; that is, the facility does not have to be financially viable, if other issues are more pressing.

'1(a) To increase the capacity of the off-street facilities for short-term users by the progressive removal of long term parkers (both leased and Early Bird parkers)'.

This policy requires that management of off-street facilities gives higher consideration of the demands for short term parking than commuter parking. The concept of parking on the new Art Gallery site being provided as a support for the cultural precinct (visitor parking) is consistent with this policy. This policy would prevent (from a policy perspective) the Art Gallery parking being managed primarily in response to commuter demand. In Council managed buildings, short term demand is being regularly assessed and adjusted for, then the remainder of the capacity being allocated for other demands.

'2. That major parking policy decisions be made through the Central City (Sub) Committee and the line of authority with the Community Boards be clearly established.'

This policy gives the Central City Committee decision making power over parking policy matters for the central city, but not necessarily over operational matters. Currently, the Art Gallery site development process and the separate budget allocation for replacement parking provision for the new Art Gallery site sit with the Strategy and Resources Committee. As a consequence, it would appear appropriate that this committee makes a policy recommendation regarding parking provision associated with the Art Gallery development.

' 3. That the management and provision of parking be integrated with the management and operation of public transport, cycle transport and pedestrian access to central city facilities'

This policy is critical in terms of the overall development of a more sustainable transport system for the city.

For the new Art Gallery site, and the area generally, there are limited opportunities for closely integrating the attractions with the public transport (bus) system, although some linking and provision for taxis and shuttles should be considered in the overall layout of the site. Surveys show that currently next-to-no visitors travel by cycle to the Gallery. While this may be able to be increased, the provision of cycle parking in accordance with the City Plan requirements should address this demand. There are excellent opportunities to provide pedestrian access, as discussed later.

'Enabling Policies

1. That the Council continue to manage parking in the central city to achieve sufficient supply and appropriate pricing to manage time and enhance the viability of the central city.

This will be achieved by:

(ii) The Council pursuing the provision of public parking space for 250+ vehicles, in any redevelopment proposals for the Sheraton site.'

The policy indicates that the 250+ spaces on the Sheraton site form part of the provision of the sufficient supply which, when managed appropriately, would enhance the viability of the central city. It also does not require that these spaces be provided in any redevelopment proposals, rather that it is a specific aim and desire of the Council.

'Off-Street Parking Facilities Management

2. That the hours of operation of the off-street parking facilities are managed to provide a high level of service for the city customers (this could include hours of operation to meet the customer demand without being economically viable).'

Whilst this policy directly addresses management issues, it reinforces the issue in the opening policy that the facilities do not have to be operated in an economically (financially) viable fashion, rather that there are other more important issues such as the provision of a high level of service for city (including Gallery and Cultural Precinct) customers.

'Commuter parking in residential Areas

1. That staff bring forward proposals which will limit parking within central city residential areas to provide both some time limited parking and coupon area parking to meet needs of residents and commuter parkers.'

This policy raises the difficult balancing process of providing for the needs of businesses and employees of the central city, and for the needs of the local residents. The parking on the new Art Gallery site would contribute to the balance, and its absence would have an adverse effect (although not directly correlated) on the demand for on-street parking in inner city residential areas. Removing the 265 spaces currently provided on the new Art Gallery site could be seen to be contrary to this policy.

In addition to the Council's Central City Parking Policy, the proposed City Plan has many policies related to central city access and parking, and the most relevant two policies are shown below. Other policies in the City Plan are not directly applicable to this report's content.

'Policy 7.6.1: To set minimum parking requirements for each activity and location based on parking demand for each land use, while not necessarily accommodating peak requirements.'

Two points to note in this policy are the Council's decision to not place maximum parking provision controls for activities, and that the provision of parking should not be based on the peak demands.

'Policy 12.2.2: To ensure adequate and balanced provision of off-street and on-street vehicle parking for short-term visitors and business needs in the central city.'

This policy reflects the above policy regarding the provision of short-term parking in preference to commuter parking. As already noted, this issue is necessary to provide a more integrated transport system, and should not be seen in isolation.


Traffic Design Group (TDG), a nationally recognised traffic engineering consultancy, was commissioned to review the current and future parking demands for the general area of the new Art Gallery site.

The study considered existing Council parking policy, the impact of conservative forecasts for growth on the number of visitors arising from the new Gallery development, other public facilities in the area that are growing and placing increasing demands on limited parking (such as the Arts Centre and the Canterbury Museum), as well as the impact on parking supply resulting from the new Farmers and Hospital parking building projects.

The Executive Summary of the report will be tabled at the Committee meeting, but is summarised in the following paragraphs. The full report is available upon request.

The report notes that there is typically high occupancy of both unrestricted parking and the various short stay time limited parking areas within the area during most weekdays, many weekday evenings and weekends. It also states that the loss of the Sheraton site parking resource (265 spaces) would severely diminish the success and attraction of the cultural precinct and its associated activities, as well as causing spreading of on-street parking into local residential areas, particularly to the north.

Walking distance is a critical element in the consideration of this issue. The TDG report identifies 4-5 minutes (about 400 metres) as a typical maximum distance for commuters to walk between car parks and their work place. This is consistent with the City and Regional Councils' experience that bus patrons will walk up to 400 metres to a bus stop. However, the report also notes that casual visitors will walk only 2-3 minutes (about 150-200 metres). This may be more appropriate as a maximum walking distance for non-commuters in this area (mother with pram, elderly, young family groups etc), or for wet day walking. Information received from the Gallery project team indicates that it 'is generally recognised that wet weather days are busy for facilities such as galleries providing there is adequate and convenient undercover parking'.

None of the public off-street parking facilities (existing or proposed) meet the needs of the Art Gallery and cultural precinct if the 2-3 minute walking distance is adopted.

The study has concluded that the new Art Gallery is likely to generate a parking demand for about 100 spaces, based on meeting weekly demands, and that in 'an ideal provision' about 360 spaces should be provided (based on the existing 265 plus about 100 generated by the new Gallery). However, the report goes on to comment that a more reasonable middle ground of about 250 spaces may be appropriate to balance cost and other policies, with the need to provide for and support the surrounding area which has a proven demand partly being satisfied with the existing Sheraton parking.

The 110 space difference (between the 'ideal provision' of 360 and the provision of 250 spaces) should have limited effect on commuter parking, with the Farmers, Noahs and King Edward Barracks facilities being able to meet the needs of most of this displaced parking demand. There would only be a nominal effect on the Museum as the new Art Gallery site is at the limit of casual walking distance, and with the Museum not generating large demands (30-50 spaces in peak demand, in the report), the effect would be on a small proportion of a relatively small demand. The main effect would be on the Arts Centre, although it is anticipated that there would be some efficiency in parking supply with people visiting both the Gallery and the Arts Centre in the same trip. The King Edward Barracks site could also provide adequate supplementary parking at least initially, being only about 150 metres away.


Historic development of the Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Canterbury Museum and the Arts Centre have left all of these facilities with no on-site public parking and no opportunity to provide any in the future. The management of these major facilities (Dr Paddy Austin - The Arts Centre of Christchurch Trust, Anthony Wright - Canterbury Museum and Tony Preston - Robert McDougall Art Gallery) in the cultural precinct were approached for their comments regarding the potential loss of the public parking on the new Art Gallery site and their perceptions of how this would affect them.

There is a marked similarity in the replies from each of the directors citing the current lack of parking, in particular for local residents and domestic visitors, as a major disincentive for people visiting the area. Each of them is also aware of comments from visitors to their facilities regarding difficulties in finding parking, even with the current availability of the parking on the new Art Gallery site. All agree that if the existing parking is not at least replaced the cultural precinct will suffer as people perceive access to the area to be too difficult. For this reason the replacement of the parking on the site is strongly supported and support for additional parking in the area was also expressed.


Parking for the new Art Gallery will need to be provided on the gallery site as a requirement of the Transitional and Proposed City Plans, and is definitely desirable in terms of providing a high level of service to visitors to the gallery.

Previous reports have undertaken detailed assessments of a number of alternative sites for the relocation of public off-street car parks which are currently on the site using the following pre-requisites:

The sites and options assessed included the YHA site, YMCA site, other residential land, St Andrews site, King Edward Barracks, Chung Wah, Postal Centre, and the Horticultural Hall site. None of the sites were found to be acceptable or realistic, except the new Art Gallery site.

The King Edward Barracks site has been assessed as potentially being an acceptable interim alternative site for many users during construction of the Gallery. Given the temporary nature of this parking (a Resource Consent condition places a five year maximum life), it is not a viable long term option.

There may eventually be private developments which might provide an acceptable option to this issue (such as the Postal Centre), but the Council has not received any concrete proposals. As such, it would not be wise to place weight in the decision making processes on such nebulous possibilities which are full of uncertainty, potential delays and risks to the Council. If real proposals come to light, then the Council could add them to the decision making process if it was still appropriate.


It has generally been accepted that any parking associated with the development of the Sheraton site for Art Gallery purposes should not be at ground level parking.

The option for parking on top of the Art Gallery building itself would require some three or four levels to be constructed. Buildings in the Western Fringe of the Central City Zone have an allowable Plot Ratio of 2 and a maximum height of 40 metres. Although required parking is not included in the plot ratio, all other floor space used for parking is included. The overall floor area available on the site for the Art Gallery itself could be compromised (underground parking is not included in plot ratio calculations) and this could again lead to costly delays through the need for resource consents. The location of several floors of car parking on top of one of the City's landmark cultural building seems particularly inappropriate from the amenity aspect.

This leaves an underground facility as the only option for provision of parking for the Art Gallery.

Consultant quantity surveyors have, as part of their initial assessments of the Gallery development, provided estimates of parking costs and parking numbers for underground parking facilities for a number of different options. Some options include parking under the entire site, such that the landscaped park would be placed over the parking. Space was allowed within the basement parking areas for plant rooms, lifts, stairs and bicycle parking. The proposed City Plan requirement for parking (shown in Table 1, option 1) was based upon initial project brief estimates of gross and public floor areas. The options are outlined in the table below.


Option Description Number of Spaces1 Total estimated cost 2 Cost per space
1 Minimum parking required for the gallery only 45 $1,603,000 $35,622
2 Art Gallery demand, part of one level 100 $2,330,000 $23,300
3 Cut batter excavation, one level only. 141 $2,930,000 $20,780
4 Maximum number of spaces on site, one level 212 $3,999,000 $18,863
5 Budgeted funding, one and a half levels 320 $6,500,000 $20,300
6 Max. no. of spaces on site, two levels 449 $9,049,000 $20,153

As can be seen from the above table, all the single level parking options fall within the $6.5 million budgeted figure for parking associated with the development.

The marginal cost of the additional spaces between having one or two levels is relatively high, as a result of higher construction costs affected by both depth and water table/underground water course issues.

Other estimates from the quantity surveyors place the cost of providing 350 spaces on site at approximately $7 million.


Access to this parking is important given the number of spaces likely to be provided, and the importance of some surrounding roads.

With the site bounded by Worcester Boulevard, Montreal Street and Gloucester Street, the site has an excellent balance of street types for access. Montreal Street (and Durham Street/Cambridge Terrace to the east) provides good vehicular access to the area. However, access and egress to the Gallery parking should not be from Montreal Street so as to minimise any effects on the traffic carrying function of this important one way street. Gloucester Street provides a good option for access and egress to the Gallery parking, being a high quality circulator road between the one way streets, which does not need to maintain the same level of traffic carrying efficiency as the one way streets. Worcester Boulevard, on the other side of the site to Gloucester Street, provides an excellent environment for the primary pedestrian access to the underground parking facility.


The construction of the Art Gallery will remove, at least temporarily, the current 265 parking spaces on the site for up to 18 months. The effects of this could be significant in terms of the patterns of daily parking in the area and for special events nearby. For daily parking demands, most vehicle occupants will either have to find alternative parking sites or find another way to travel in. For special events, the planning of the events will have to consider alternative options.

The recent (October 1997) Resource Consent to allow development of the King Edward Barracks as a temporary car park (for up to five years) may provide a significant mitigating option. This car park has been designed to accommodate up to 310 car parking spaces, dependent upon the uptake of other development opportunities on the site. It is understood that about two-thirds of these spaces will be long term leases and the remainder casual parking during weekdays and will likely be entirely casual at weekends and evenings.

The Parking Unit Manager has also commented that the Parking Unit will be mounting special promotions of the Noahs and Farmers (to be open in the first quarter of 1999) parking buildings with the removal (albeit temporary) of the existing parking spaces, at the appropriate time.


The table below provides an indication of the financial performance of a parking facility under the Gallery based around approximately 200 and 450 spaces. This assessment has been compiled in discussion with the Parking Manager and is based on a number of assumptions, as follows:

Table 2 : Indicative economic assessment of options 1A and 1B (from Table 1)

  200 space facility 450 space facility
  1997/98 2003 1997/98 2003
Operational Expenditure $300,000 $345,000 $300,000 $345,000
Rental $415,000 $415,000 $915,000 $915,000
Total Expenditure $715,000 $760,000 $1,215,000 $1,260,000
Income $516,000 $860,000 $645,000 $1,075,000
Net Cost $199,000 -$100,000 $570,000 $185,000

Similar calculations for a 320 space option indicate that in 2003 the facility would incur a loss of about $75,000.

The above table indicates that there is not a strong financial incentive to invest in parking under the Gallery. Indeed, the 1997/98 figures indicate a significant loss making situation if operated under present conditions and charges.

However, as noted in the earlier section 'Strategic Situation and Policies', the Central City Parking Policy has in its primary statement that parking facilities have as their primary consideration the viability of the central city, not return on investment.


The Traffic Design Group report, Council policies and comments from management of the major activities in the area support that there is a need to provide parking associated with the new Art Gallery. The Traffic Design Group report has identified parking demands for both the new Art Gallery and the surrounding area.

Taking into account the above matters, there are three main options to consider; firstly, provision of 100 parking spaces (costing $2.33 million), secondly, provision of about 200 parking spaces ($4.0 million), and lastly, provision of 320 parking spaces ($6.5 million).

The first option, as a stand alone situation, would provide for the weekly parking demands of the Art Gallery as identified in the Traffic Design Group report, but would not provide for the needs of the cultural precinct. It would be the cheapest of the three options to construct, but the most expensive per space (see Table 1). This option does not satisfy Council policies to pursue 250+ spaces in the redevelopment of the site, and to limit the spread of commuter parking into residential areas. It would be in contrast to comments from the managers of the major attractions in the area and would 'severely diminish the success and attraction of the cultural precinct and its associated activities'.

Although the second option will not meet the 'ideal provision' of 360 spaces identified in the Traffic Design Group report, it does provide for the day to day needs of the Gallery, with 100 spaces available for other visitors to the area. It is the most economic solution (cost per space) allowing the Council to retain some $2.5 million of the budgeted $6.5 million, while meeting policies relating to pursuing the provision of 250+ spaces in the redevelopment of the new Art Gallery site and limiting the spread of commuter parking into inner city residential areas. It will also continue to demonstrate the Council's commitment to supporting the cultural precinct, and address some of the comments from the managers of the major attractions in the area. The indicative economic assessment shows that a 200 space facility would, depending upon certain issues, operate with a small surplus when opened.

The third option will also not meet the 'ideal provision' of 360 spaces, but would provide for the day to day needs of the Gallery with over 200 spaces nominally replacing the existing 265 Sheraton car parks. The 40 space 'shortfall' would only have a small effect on the Arts Centre, and would not create effects on any other parking demands in the area. This solution would use all the Council's budgeted funds and is more expensive in cost per space than the second option (as a result of the increased costs of providing spaces in a second underground parking level). The indicative economic assessment showed an annual loss would probably be incurred (existing policies state that financial considerations are not to be of primary import, and therefore this should be acceptable). This option better meets Council policies (for pursuing 250+ spaces and limiting the spread of parking into residential areas) and the comments from the managers of the major attractions in the area.

The Art Gallery director is strongly supportive of this last option, with a view of minimising the risk to the success of both the Art Gallery and the cultural precinct through the Council control of a significant parking resource in one facility.


On balance, it is appropriate to recommend that 320 spaces be adopted for 'Concept Design' purposes. This option best addresses the Traffic Design Group assessment, City Council policies in this area and the comments of the managers of activities in the area. It is within the budget allowance. If any developer's plans for providing public parking in this area evolve over the next 8-10 months while the 'Concept Design' is being developed and approved, then the Council could reconsider the extent of parking provided with the new Art Gallery at the end of the 'Concept Design' stage.

Recommendation: That 320 car parking spaces (costing $6.5 million) be adopted for 'Concept Design' purposes.
Chairman's Recommendation: For discussion.




Officer responsible Author
Communications & Promotions Manager Melanie Williams
Corporate Plan Output: Central City Marketing

The purpose of this report is to inform the committee about the results of the City Centre Christmas Opening Hours Campaign and the Free Buses Day.


In the past the city centre has been conspicuous by its absence from any Christmas opening hours advertising. It has not been possible to promote city centre Christmas opening hours because of the huge variation between stores. After our success with the co-ordinating Saturday opening hours campaign we decided to try something similar with Christmas opening hours.

The city centre Christmas opening hours were:

Date Open until at least
Saturday 13 December 10am to 4pm
Sunday 14 December 11am to 3pm
Monday 15 December 9am to 6pm
Tuesday 16 December 9am to 6pm
Wednesday 17 December 9am to 6pm
Thursday 18 December 9am to 6pm
Friday 19 December 9am to 9pm
Saturday 20 December 10am to 5pm
Sunday 21 December 11am to 3pm
Monday 22 December 9am to 9pm
Tuesday 23 December 9am to 9pm
Wednesday 24 December 9am to 7pm

A promotional campaign was produced to inform the public of the city centre's Christmas opening hours. The advertising campaign consisted of:

In terms of availability, parking in the city centre is a problem in the last two weeks leading up to Christmas. However the Parking Unit agreed to extend early bird parking so it covered the Christmas opening hours times, making shopping after work more attractive.

As part of the new Christmas decorations we featured a Santa's Grotto. The Grotto was located in different parts of the city centre for the 12 days leading up to Christmas and was personed by Santa and six friendly elf helpers. The Christmas opening hours advertising included the location of the Santa Grotto and it proved to be a popular draw.

The retailers were informed of the Christmas opening hours campaign in 'Street Talk' and then with a letter that accompanied the contract they needed to sign to take part. They were reminded of the hours they agreed to in Street Talk and by a flier.




All buses to and from the city centre free - from 10 am until 6pm.



The free bus day was an idea that came out of a willingness to work closely with public transport operators and in particular from discussions with Christchurch Transport Ltd and the Canterbury Regional Council. The agreement was for City Centre Marketing to put $10,000 towards the promotion and to help with organisation if CTL would match this. The CRC agreed and met the costs of the CANRIDE bus companies losses on the day (staff and fuel costs, etc.) The CANRIDE companies agreed to provide a service that was twice the normal Saturday frequency.

Advertising Campaign

Entertainment Planned in the City Centre



Recommendation: That the information be received.
Chairman's Recommendation: That the officer's recommendation be adopted.



The six monthly monitoring reports for the following units are attached:

Parking Operations Unit
Communications and Promotions Unit.

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