THE parking woes at Hervey Bay Hospital may soon be eased, but Fraser Coast residents will have to pay for the privilege of using the council's new car park at the corner of Nissen and Urraween Rd.
The existing carpark at Hervey Bay Hospital will continue to be free.
Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell said the council had invested more than $1 million in building the new car park and said a user pays system would help fund that investment.
The pricing will be comparable to Hervey Bay Airport, which will no longer offer free parking for the first hour.
Instead, as of July 15, the council will now charge $2 for the first two hours of parking.
Cr O'Connell said there were no plans to introduce on-street parking fees to any part of the Fraser Coast, including high traffic areas such as Kent St in Maryborough and the Esplanade in Hervey Bay.
But the council would explore paid off-street parking options, similar to the user pays car park in Bazaar St in Maryborough, Cr O'Connell said.
"The Fraser Coast Parking Strategy recommends the implementation of paid parking for any new off street car parks," he said.
New off-street paid parking is currently under construction at Charles St in Hervey Bay, with fees to be charged at $1 an hour, with a maximum of $5 a day.
The council has invested $650,000 in the project.
Cr O'Connell said he believed regulated parking times, which were already in place in high-traffic areas, were the best option for controlling the length of time people were parking and it was monitored by compliance officers in both cities.
Charging a minimum rate of $2 for parking at the airport would help cover all the costs involved in keeping the car park operational, including landscaping, security, lighting and line marking, Cr O'Connell said.
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