Paid parking at the University of Wollongong will make students "disperse like a swarm of flies" to find cheaper parking further afield, according to a Wollongong councillor.
In the debate over the long-awaited draft of the Keiraville - Gwynneville Access and Movement Study - which aims to address some of the traffic and congestion issues in the suburbs closest to UOW - a number of councillors spoke about the report's most controversial issues: parking meters and the university's provision of student parking.
To stop the near 100 per cent occupancy rates of the streets directly next to the university, the study suggested paid parking could be brought in by the council.
But Liberal councillor Cameron Walters said he did not think parking meters would be a good solution.
"I don't think it will work as perceived," he said.
"If anyone knows university students, they will disperse like a swarm of flies and move to the next suburb that has free parking because for them, disposable income is pretty low."
Deputy Lord Mayor Tania Brown agreed, saying she was "not a fan of paid parking meters in our suburbs [because it's] a further impost on our residents and most likely on students who do not have a lot of disposable income".
But Cr Dom Figliomeni said paid parking could be worth consideration.
Cr Walters also said the university needed to realise its students would keep using cars.
"People are coming from Sydney and South Western Sydney and public transport is not up to the standard," he said. "The university needs to stop [saying] they can get to this idea of people out of cars. It needs to [provide] its fair share of parking."
Labor councillor Janice Kershaw also took aim at the university's parking provision, which the study says is one of the worst in terms of it's parking space to student ratio.
"The university has continued to grow and has not provided the parking or infrastructure during that time to meet the needs of the university," she said.
"If there was a residential development that was going up or if there was some sort of retail business... council would require parking so that it wouldn't impact on the surrounding residents.
She also criticised the university for not commenting on the proposals put out through the study, which it has jointly funded.
"They've said 'oh no it's not up to us to comment and we're working on the modal change of transport to the university'.
"The solution is... not for us to keep spending money, it's up to the university to spend money and build more car parks and make them more affordable for the students that attend there, rather than impacting on the residents of Keiraville and Gwynneville."