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PumpHouse joins call for carpark to stay open later

Flagstaff Team

The Toka Puia car park closes early from Sunday to Wednesday

The PumpHouse Theatre has added its voice to community members surprised to learn of the early closing hours of the Toka Puia public car-park in Takapuna.

“As an organisation that thrives on people visiting Takapuna in the evenings, this is disappointing,” said Peter Burn, chair of the North Shore Theatre Trust, which oversees the PumpHouse.

The theatre encouraged its patrons to consider walking down from Takapuna and patronising its shops and restaurants, but to find the Auckland Transport (AT) car-park closed at 6pm on Sundays and at 9pm Monday and Tuesday was disappointing, he said.

Burn has written to the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board over the matter, hoping the board will advocate with AT for later hours. Business and local body politicians have already been lobbying for longer hours and the Observer has now learned from AT that partial relief is on the way. From this week, Wednesday closings will match the midnight lock up applying through until Saturday. Sunday to Tuesday is unchanged.

The building’s early closing times became more widely known after the Observer (25 June) reported on a Hauraki man who was locked inside upon returning to his vehicle after an evening meal. Chris Kissin entered the carpark just before 9pm, paid by AT App and received a message to say he had 15 minutes to exit the building. However, the roller-door automatically came down at 9pm trapping him inside.

Five other people who missed the deadline to collect their vehicles were on the outside wanting to get in when a security guard arrived to let him out after 40 minutes inside. The group successfully protested about being asked to pay $40 as a release fee.

Although the carpark’s hours are noted on signs, they are not particularly prominent. Since Kissin’s experience, a number of people have commented about how they might easily have been caught out by assuming the park would be open later.

Kissin had tried to park at the 24-hour central carpark off Anzac St around 7pm, but it was full, so he instead went to Toka Puia for the first time. He says its closing hours are inadequate to service local residents and hospitality businesses.

Burn agrees and thinks midnight should be considered, as applies Thursday to Saturday. While the PumpHouse recommended people used the closer 24-hour Anzac St carpark, that was expected to close in due course for Auckland Council redevelopment. The trust wanted Toka Puia to be a “viable parking option” for visitors.

An AT spokesperson said it had listened to local concerns in making the Wednesday change. “We are looking to support the night- time vibrancy of Takapuna.”

Since Toka Puia opened last year and prior to the Kissin callout, AT said there had been two cases of people being let out after hours. It was unsure how many people in total might have called to get in or out, because the calls were answered by Armourguard.

AT acknowledged there was no signage at the building warning of a $40 release fee. “AT does not have any involvement in the fee charged. This is paid directly to Armourguard,” the spokesperson said.

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