Car valet not needed: Carter
MAYOR Brad Carter yesterday took to the airwaves to defend Rockhampton Regional Council’s move to jettison a small business from the city’s airport.
Cr Carter said the decision to no longer support a valet and secure parking service was made on commercial grounds in the interests of ratepayers.
Council no longer felt that it needed to provide a valet service after the introduction of a new business model which incorporated paid parking, even though Airport Car Care had provided this service for 15 years, he said.
However, there was nothing to stop a private operator running such a service with pick-up and delivery services using other external parking.
His comments drew an incredulous response from the owner of Airport Car Care, Rod Nugent, who had launched a stinging attack on council in yesterday’s Morning Bulletin for forcing his business’ closure.
Rod, who also ran the airport newsagency which wound up late last year after he didn’t tender for the current lease, said he was driven out because council didn’t want competition to its paid parking.
He said his beef was that council had closed a small business so it could make more money itself.
The story generated plenty of comment on the 4R0 radio station, where council’s initial one-line response came under scrutiny.
Council, which runs and owns the airport, had said it conducted all business operations with sound commercial principles and in line with the requirements of the Local Government Act.
Cr Carter backed this as an appropriate response, but said he was prompted to expand further after the story became public.
He said it was unethical to discuss a person’s private business publicly unless an individual first aired it in the media.
He said Airport Car Care had a historical arrangement with council to run a sanctioned service where council provided the site and marked car parks on concessional terms.
“Council made a decision 12 months ago or more that we would not call for tenders for the valet parking,” Cr Carter said.
“Our business model provides good service to the community and we provide secure parking for short, medium and long term."