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Motorists in a fine mess after car park sold

BOOKED: Some of the cars with infringement notices at Woden on Tuesday.

BOOKED: Some of the cars with infringement notices at Woden on Tuesday. Photo: Tom McIlroy

The ACT government will withdraw thousands of dollars in fines issued to holders of long-term parking permits after a popular Woden car park was sold to private owners.

In the latest battle in Canberra's parking wars, fines were issued at the 226-space car park at Melrose Drive on Tuesday, with many public servants and other workers seemingly unaware their long-term permits were no longer accepted in the area.

But a statement from Justice and Community Services said warnings should have been issued in the first instance due to the change in parking arrangements.

Sign informing drivers of the changes in the carpark's rules.

Sign informing drivers of the changes in the carpark's rules. Photo: Tom McIlroy

The new private owner of the car park was made a parking authority in late May, new machines were installed last week, and the new parking arrangements came into effect on Tuesday.

Temporary signs placed around ticket machines in the facility flanked by the Tradies Club and nine-storey Aviation House warned users the car park was now privately operated and that ACT government prepaid tickets were no longer accepted.

“Parking Operations will continue to work with the new car park owners to ensure that motorists using this car park facility are apprised of the changes and that motorists have an opportunity to make other arrangements,” the statement said.

“Other ACT government car parking areas in Phillip are not affected and motorists with pre-paid parking permits should use those other areas.”

Fairfax Media observed dozens of infringement notices on cars around 5pm.

The site was sold to a private developer in April and construction of a 28-storey development is expected to begin within 12 months.

Worker Peter Holmick said he had parked at the site for more than seven years and believed the changes had not been adequately communicated to permit holders in recent days.

''All my colleagues who have long-term parking permits have been issued with fines and I am not impressed,'' he said.

''I have prepaid a three-month ticket from the ACT government. With three months of parking you don't bother going up to look at the sign every day, you just drive in and park where you always park.''

Mr Holmick said the $83 infringement notices should be waived until the changes could be better communicated to workers in the Woden Town Centre.

''I would imagine they will be getting a lot of complaints and I will certainly be speaking to a lot of my friends and suggesting we write together and try to get it overturned,'' he said.

Another worker who received a fine on Tuesday, but asked not to be named, said the situation amounted to ''daylight robbery''.

''There is clearly not enough signage for people to understand they need to pay now,'' she said.

''It is no wonder people are cynical about parking inspectors in Canberra when they think putting up a cardboard sign is sufficient warning.

''They are going to make a killing today.''

Last month Fairfax Media reported vandalism to about a dozen cars in nearby Haines Street, Curtin, used for parking by Woden-based workers.

The complaints come as the federal government prepares for the introduction of paid parking for about 9000 spaces around the parliamentary triangle.

with Hamish Boland-Rudder

 

32 comments

  • Why be surprised by a story like this? We now live in the era of where you DON'T get what you lay for.

    Commenter
    Getting Serious
    Location
    Campbell
    Date and time
    June 12, 2013, 5:52AM
    • Can we take one step backwards, why on earth do we need a 28 storey development in Woden?

      Commenter
      Outraged of Palmerston
      Date and time
      June 12, 2013, 6:30AM
      • You don't even live in Woden, so why should it bother you?

        Commenter
        Sharron
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        June 12, 2013, 9:56AM
      • I live in the ACT; I see an over supply of office space and apartments and I watch economic decay creep into once vibrant community spaces.

        What will a brand new 28 storey complex bring new to Woden beyond keeping the building bubble ticking along a little longer?

        Commenter
        Outraged of Palmerston
        Date and time
        June 12, 2013, 12:06PM
      • Because i work in Woden?

        Commenter
        Outraged of Palmerston
        Date and time
        June 12, 2013, 1:30PM
    • When you buy a commercial property, the lease of an existing tenant is protected in law.

      Isn't the same true of advance purchase parkers? The seller and buyer have a contractual responsibility to them. I'd be parking free for the duration of my permit and letting these mongrels take me to court if they were silly enough to do so.

      Commenter
      bob smith
      Date and time
      June 12, 2013, 6:36AM
      • The parking permit is valid for several carparks in Woden, so holders of these tickets can still utilise what they have paid for, just not in this one particular carpark.

        So don't really see the issue, except of course people being fined (now withdrawn of course) for poor communication of change in status of this carpark.

        Commenter
        Jimmy
        Location
        CBR
        Date and time
        June 12, 2013, 2:32PM
    • So you can have a pre paid government ticket, park in a private car park and the government inspectors issue tickets to collect government revenue? Surely a private car park should be manned by private inspectors paid for by the company collecting parking revenue? Not tax payer funded inspectors?

      Commenter
      Janie1
      Date and time
      June 12, 2013, 6:52AM
      • You're right Janie.

        If there was an anti corruption body in Canberra, they'd surely be taking a very close look at why government parking people are being paid to police a private car park ....unless some corrupt pollie's getting a kick back or has an interest in the company that bought the car park.

        Commenter
        bob smith
        Date and time
        June 12, 2013, 8:20AM
      • Private carparks can allow the government inspectors to patrol their carparks. Payment for this service is by virtue of the government being allowed to keep the fines. You may be surprised how many carparks around town are private.

        The thing with this one though, that I beleive has been missed is the signs saying it was now private and the prepayed tickets no longer apply were put up mid-morning after cars had unknowingly parked there. Now that is wrong.

        Commenter
        Jimmy
        Location
        CBR
        Date and time
        June 12, 2013, 8:33AM

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