An East Corrimal resident is furious his partner was slapped with a $112 parking fine on Wednesday when the electronic parking meter at MacCabe Park car park was broken.
Chris Lewis’ partner parked at Church Street about 11.15am to take her three children to the cinema.
When she went to pay for parking, the machine was displaying 10.23pm and therefore she was not able to pay or receive a ticket.
Mr Lewis’ partner called the number on the meter box but was on hold for 10 minutes. She had to go see the movie and when she came back to the car, she saw an infringement notice under the windscreen wipers.
“It is not fair for drivers to be issued with a fine when the parking infrastructure is not working,” Mr Lewis said.
“Now I have to ask for an exemption through the State Debt Recovery Office.
“I am sure a number of people got fined.”
Mr Lewis said his partner saw another car that had a note on the dash saying a ticket was not displayed because the meter was broken.
He said he understood the rangers were doing their job but could not comprehend why they would issue fines when the machines were broken.
Mr Lewis plans to take the matter to court.
“I shouldn’t have to take time out of the school holidays to get an infringement notice lifted,” he said. “The notice should not have been issued in the first place because the infrastructure was not working.”
Mr Lewis’ partner said she would not park on the street again and would rather travel to Shellharbour or give her parking money to a private shopping centre.
A council spokeswoman said the parking meter was repaired promptly.
“From time to time, there can be faults with the electronic parking meters,” she said.
“There is an inbuilt alarm system to flag issues, and in this instance an error with one of the meters in the MacCabe Park car park was lodged at 10.32am on Wednesday.
“The remaining meters within the vicinity of the car park were not affected by an error. The broken meter was repaired and back online by 12:07pm.”
The spokeswoman said in cases of faulty equipment, there was a contact number on the machines for customers to call.
“When a customer calls this number, they’re provided with a code which, when displayed on the dashboard, may exempt them from a penalty notice,” she said.
Once a fine has been issued, it is only the State Debt Recovery Office, which is an independent authority tasked with reassessing penalty notices – and not the council – that is able to rescind or remove a fine should someone want to contest it.