Council deliberates over Grafton Mall parking fines
CLARENCE Valley councillors want to nail down the best way of making money from an application to allow parking fines to be collected in the Coles Mall car park.
Tuesday's meeting of the council's environment, planning and works committee deferred making a decision on an application from the owner of the mall, Grafton Mall Investments Pty Ltd to ask the council to manage its car park as a free parking area.
If it agrees to the application, council's parking inspectors will be able to fine people for exceeding the parking limit, parking incorrectly in marked bays and parking illegally in disabled car parking spots.
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Although the decision was deferred to the June 23 full council meeting, questions from councillors came thick and fast.
Cr Craig Howe, who moved the motion to defer, wondered if it was possible to allow the applicant to police the car park itself.
General manager Scott Greensill said he would take that one on notice.
Cr Sue Hughes was worried the council might be setting a precedent, but the council's director environment planning and works, Des Schroder, said it was quite common across NSW for council to control these sorts of car parks.
"The Local Government Act sets the guidelines," he said.
The deputy mayor, Cr Andrew Baker, quizzed Mr Schroder on the "mechanics of getting the dough in".
He assured Cr Baker the state infringement notice people collected the money and council collected its cut.
Cr Baker was also worried what would happen if Grafton people turned out to be good parkers, who didn't overstay their time limits.
"Is it possible to have a minimum amount p
aid to council if people are able to avoid the parking officer," he said.
Mr Schroder said there was a precedent to charge an applicant $25 for each parking place, which would net council more than $3000 a year.
Cr Margaret McKenna wanted to know if council would collect enough fines to cover costs.
She learned fines varied, with a maximum of $500 charged for illegally parking in a disabled zone.
Cr Howe was also worried the extra work would be too onerous for the council's rangers.
"The stats are saying there are more people parking there. What will happen in the holidays," he said.
"Council has allocated resources of two hours a week for it," said Mr Schroder. "If that becomes too onerous we'll look at it."
He caused some unintentional laughter when he noted parking inspectors were down in Yamba in the holiday periods.
"Inspecting parking areas," he said, after the laughing subsided.
Cr Jason Kingsley asked council staff to look at increasing the parking limit from two hours to four hours in the mall car park.
The motion to defer was passed unanimously.