The sign displaying the Airlie Beach Hotel's new carparking fees.
The sign displaying the Airlie Beach Hotel's new carparking fees.

Residents dismayed at doubling of carparking fees

RESIDENTS have expressed dismay at the doubling of carparking fees in the Airlie Beach Hotel carpark, in the centre of town.

The fees doubled last week, going from $2 for one hour, $4 for one to two hours and $6 for two+ hours, to $4, $8 and $12 respectively.

The Airlie Lagoon carpark is $3 for up to two hours, $5 for two to four hours, $8 for four to 12 hours and $10 for 12-24 hours.

One resident, who has a stall at the Airlie Beach markets, on Saturdays, and wishes to remain anonymous, said the hotel’s new fees were a ‘huge’ price increase overnight.

“We have always used this carpark, and paid for years, but this increase is ridiculous,” he said.

“I am wondering if this is a deliberate attempt to either make extra money from Saturday morning market stall holders or customers.

“This would be unfair, if this is the case, as this carpark has plenty of car spaces on Saturday mornings and even when The Pub have Saturday afternoon shows most of the stall holders have vacated by 1.30pm.

“This carpark is very popular on Saturday mornings, especially as shoppers and stall holders can park there paying the fee, as Coconut Grove and Airlie Esplanade are both only one-hour free parking and you will get booked if you overstay the time limit, the signage is very clear and self-explanatory.”

The Airlie Beach Hotel’s marketing and promotions manager Mark Wilkins refuted any claims of profiteering from the carpark, which he said was private and for the use of hotel accommodation and venue guests.

“The reality is that there is a significant shortfall between the less than 50 per cent fee we receive for managing the facility - which has to cover management fees, running costs, council rates, water rates, landscaping, repairs, maintenance, rubbish removal and insurance - and what ends up on our profit line,” he said.

“It is a facility that is for the convenience and use of our guests and, therefore, it is regarded as a service, rather than a revenue centre.”

Mr Wilkins said it was a requirement of Whitsunday Regional Council town planning regulations that the hotel provide sufficient carparking for guests and patrons.

“Unfortunately, our guests have been continually restricted with the ability to use this facility, for a number of reasons, including the shortage of carparking in the Airlie Beach CBD, which places pressure on the hotel carpark,” he said.

“Some people choose to show a lack of courtesy and use the carpark for long-term stays, therefore restricting the ability for some guests to come and go regularly.

“In regard to the public, there is a choice of free, off-street parking surrounding the hotel including outside the Airlie Beach Hotel Liquor & Tobacco Merchants, on Shute Harbour Road, and The Esplanade and Coconut Grove.”

Mr Wilkins said the hotel’s courtesy bus was free for members and was a service to relieve parking pressure, as well as encourage Responsible Service of Alcohol.

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