A PARKING crunch at South Beach is pitting swimmers and dog lovers against students from Notre Dame.
With uni cranking up for a new year and students trying to avoid having to pay for parking, their cars stretch up Marine Terrace and into the beach’s car park so they can catch the free CAT bus into their West End campus.
But the regular crowd down at the beach, including many who are there for its positive effects on their physical and mental health, say there’s now often nowhere for them to park.
One Beaconsfield resident told the Herald it’s the last straw and she’s sold up and is moving out of Fremantle.
“I now have to go to the dog beach at CY O’Connor Beach, which means I’m taking over their parking, even though I live just 700 metres away from South Beach,” says an angry Megan Kolbe
To try and control the problem, Fremantle council has imposed four-hour parking restrictions at the car park opposite Sealanes.
The council’s manager of city business Glen Dougall says the restrictions “strike a balance between the needs of all parking users”.
“The four-hour time limit at car park 60 was introduced in October as people were having difficulty accessing South Beach because all-day parkers took up parking bays,” Mr Dougall told the Herald.
“The four hour limit was considered to strike a reasonable balance between the needs of those wanting to access the beach and people with business in the city centre.”
But returning after their uni break to find the new signs, many students aren’t happy.
“Four hours isn’t exactly a long time, especially if you have got class all day,” says fourth year student Emily Watson.
“It’s such a hassle having to come and move your car two spaces down or something and a lot of my friends have been getting tickets because of it.
“It’s a shame because the uni generates so much business for the Fremantle area as well.”
Student association president Dylan Gojak says parking is a major financial burden on Notre Dame’s students, and areas like the South Beach car park were vital for “a wallet-friendly, all-day option”.
“Notre Dame students are already paying more for parking out of all university students in Western Australia and this decision by the City of Fremantle is only going to make things harder,” Mr Gojak says.
Almost half of Notre Dame students travel to Fremantle by car, and Mr Gojak says they’ll spend over $1300 a year on parking.
“The NDSA has had an ongoing dialogue with the mayor surrounding parking for many years and from our understanding there has always been a preference for students to park on the fringes of the city and either walk in or catch the CAT bus in, which is why this decision is all the more confusing.
“It is also disappointing that the city didn’t consult with the Notre Dame Student Association at all before this decision was made when they must have known full well many students parked in this area.”
by EMILEE NEESON
and STEVE GRANT