Wollongong council 'cashing in' on parking woes

Keiraville and Gwynneville Community Group chairman Felix Bronneberg with resident Carol in Gipps Road. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Keiraville and Gwynneville Community Group chairman Felix Bronneberg with resident Carol in Gipps Road. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Keiraville residents have accused Wollongong City Council of choosing revenue over a resolution to the suburb’s parking problems after it was revealed that the council issued more than $85,000 worth of fines in the suburb in the past year.

In a letter addressed to a Gipps Road resident, the Lord Mayor’s office revealed that 5583 penalty notices and 56 warnings had been issued in the small suburb, including 850 in the past 12 months.

General parking infringements attract a $101 fine, but can soar into hundreds of dollars if someone is booked for parking in a bus zone or too close to an intersection.

The revelation comes after the council declined to fund a crucial traffic study of the area when it tabled the draft 2014-2015 budget in April.

‘‘If they’re generating significant revenue from the issuing of parking fines, why can’t some of that be allocated to a traffic study, which takes all of these issues into account and looks at solutions?’’ Keiraville and Gwynneville Community Group chairman Felix Bronneberg said.

It was a sentiment echoed by Gipps Road resident Carol, who received the lengthy letter from Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery after complaining about people parking across her driveway.

Carol, who lives near the public school, said parents regularly block her driveway during the afternoon pick-up because there was no dedicated drop-off and pick-up zone.

‘‘It’s a real nuisance, it’s very aggravating...not having access to the driveway 24 hours a day,’’ Carol, who did not want her full name used, said.

‘‘I’ve had to paint white lines on either side of my driveway to stop people encroaching [on it].

‘‘I’d like council to use the money from the fines of cars parked illegally to fund the traffic study, and set up a pick-up and drop-off point for parents at the school.’’

In the letter, the Lord Mayor acknowledged the congestion generated by the school and university  but he fell short of offering any firm solutions.

The council has reminded schools to warn parents of ‘‘the penalties and risks involved in committing parking offences’’, but ruled out regular patrols of the area at 3pm because it is deemed ‘‘low risk’’.

Residents in neighbouring Braeside Avenue are feeling the pinch of parking congestion, one being fined twice after  parking  illegally to reach  her home.

Anna Patrinos was slapped with a $236 fine after she left her car parked in an unused bus stop at the front of her house for 20 minutes.

She was fined a second time, just weeks later, after parking on the nature strip at  the front of her house, again because of parking congestion.

‘‘As residents, if it is going to be this congested constantly, then I think council should give us permits so somehow we can park in our own street.’’

Wollongong City Council was unable to comment on Monday.

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