Opposition calls for ACT govt to waive school's fete parking fines
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Opposition calls for ACT govt to waive school's fete parking fines

Canberra Girls Grammar School is in discussions with the ACT government over parking fines given out to patrons of the school's fete last month.

People who parked illegally at the Weetangera School fete were also pinged earlier this month, in what some have called a "mean-spirited" action by the government.

The Canberra Liberals' spokeswoman on urban services Nicole Lawder said the fete fines should be waived.

Maggie, Nina, 10, and Peter Pharaoh were fined $270 for parking in the middle of Melbourne Avenue with scores of other cars for the Canberra Girls Grammar Fete last month.

Maggie, Nina, 10, and Peter Pharaoh were fined $270 for parking in the middle of Melbourne Avenue with scores of other cars for the Canberra Girls Grammar Fete last month. Credit:Elesa Kurtz

“This was a very ungracious and unreasonable attempt at revenue raising. Where did the government expect the school community to park?" Ms Lawder said.

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“If the government continues to target community events like this, the consequence will be less people getting involved. That would be a real shame."

“Rather than targeting people participating in community events, the government should get its affairs in order and deliver more designated public parking areas throughout the community.”

A Girls Grammar spokesman confirmed on Friday the school administration was upset by the parking fines given out mainly on Melbourne Avenue in Forrest during the fete at the senior campus on Saturday, October 27.

While the school was not aware of the official number of fines given out on the day, one fete-goer - who received a $270 fine for parking between Melbourne Avenue and Grey Street - believed up to 200 cars were pinged.

“We are aware that a number of our community members received parking fines on the day of the fete and have been in discussions with the ACT government about this issue," the school said in a statement.

"We were overwhelmed by the amount of support we received for this community-led event and have been disappointed that this issue has tarred the experience for many of our community members.”

Peter Pharaoh, who received the $270 fine at Grammar, said he was also aware a helper at the sausage sizzle stall received a $270 fine, as did his wife in another car, meaning their attempts to help out at the fete had cost them $540.

"This was with the compliments of the Barr government’s mobile licence plate recognition camera car - 'the revenue car','' he said.

"This serves as a warning to the ACT community that the Barr government continues to target public events and community activities to raise yet more revenue.''

Grammar said there was no parking available on the senior school campus "due to the safety risks associated with having a large number of young children walking around".

Graeme Dobell said he attended the Weetangera School fete earlier this month and knew of two people who each received $120 parking fines. He said the rangers appeared to be applying the parking rules "to the nth degree" in order to issue the fines.

One car was half-on, half-off the road verge, while another was parked in a street where there was no signage saying parking wasn't allowed, Mr Dobell said.

"The government seems to be targeting fetes, which seems very mean-spirited," he said.

The ACT government has been contacted for comment.

Megan Doherty is a reporter for The Canberra Times

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