Changes to Bluff Boat Ramp car park impacts on business and tourists

BUSINESS IMPACT: Allistair Parker of Eat at Whalers at the car park opposite his business.
BUSINESS IMPACT: Allistair Parker of Eat at Whalers at the car park opposite his business.

A move by council to restrict the parking of cars at the Bluff Boat Ramp Car Park has angered one business.

The car park was upgraded in 2017 adjacent to Eat at Whalers restaurant to accommodate an additional 34 parking spaces to accommodate 14 boat trailers and 20 cars. The boat ramp already has car parking for 34 boat trailers.

At an August 2016 City of Victor Harbor council meeting elected members resolved to give serious consideration to the parking needs of the public, who have no interest in boating and who wish to park for any purpose and for designs produced for the car park to be utilised as multi use.  

However, at its November 2017 council meeting elected members endorsed restrictions to prevent multi use at the car park. With the exception of five car parks at the site, the rest of the upgrade is for boat trailers only from December to March from 6am to 6pm.

These restrictions impacts on the lunch trade of Eat at Whalers. Eat at Whalers manager  Allistair Parker said he understands the need for boating, but cannot believe council has not listened.

“Boating and  business could co-exist with the use of the car park. 

“The signs are worded negatively and this car park arrangement has our business in serious risk. I have little parking under this arrangement and I do not know how much this will cost us during what is our busiest time of the year,” Mr Parker said.

“During the construction of the upgrade it cost us $100,000 and if we do not get people through the door this tourist season we will have to close the door. That is 20 staff and families affected.”

Mr Parker pointed out that on Monday, December 11, at lunch time there were only two cars with boat trailers in the car park and Eat at Whalers hosted a Probus lunch for 80 people.

“Where do they park? It does not make any sense, surely it could be multi use, as the car park was initially intended,” Mr Parker said.

Councillor Tim Glazbrook is on the Boating Advisory committee and said the parking needs of the public was discussed at the boating advisory committee at length.

“It was decided to recommend to council that the boat parks across the road from Eat at Whalers would operate on a first in basis for eight months of the year. This would allow these parking spaces to be utilised by local businesses and the community for recreation purposes most of the year,” Mr Glazbrook said.

“Victor Harbor is a popular tourism destination and offers locals and visitors a wide range of marine activities especially over the summer months. For many years there has been a significant shortage of trailer parking in this area. For this reason the committee decided to recommend to council that these parking spaces be reserved tor vehicles with boat trailers from December to March, 6am to 6pm. This will allow these parks to be utilised by all of the community outside of these hours.”

Chair of the Boating Advisory committee and councillor Nick Hayles agrees with Mr Glazbrook.  

“It is a shame if the new parking facility has had a negative effect on the Eat at Whalers restaurant. It is important to remember that this is community land and council was trying to meet the needs of the whole community when it considered the design of this parking facility,” Mr Hayles said.

“It is also important to remember that this facility was provided at no cost to the Whalers owners and that council has been very generous to this group over the years with the provision of road reserve, which is being utilised for parking behind their buildings.”