The letter of the law

A PETITION of several hundred signatures opposing paid parking in the Riseley Street shopping precinct may never see the light of day after falling foul of Melville council’s rules.

Traders collected the signatures from staff and customers over a couple of weeks, but the council has classified it “multi-signature letters” rather than a petition, and is looking at whether there’s a way of getting around the rules to have them presented.

Meanwhile the traders have started again using the council’s official form, but had only a day or two to pull some together before Melville’s delayed council meeting.

Meanwhile mayoral candidate George Gear has promised to suspend the paid parking in the precinct if elected.

Describing the on-off-on-off ticketing machines a result of “poor policy decisions”, Mr Gear says he’d be calling for a “root and branch” review of the city’s parking policies to ensure local traders weren’t being punished.

• Traders and staff from Riseley Street brave stormy weather with their petitions opposing parking in the shopping precinct. Photo by Justin Stahl

“There is clearly a pattern emerging here, not just with parking but across the city. There is a real lack of genuine consultation … it’s time for a change,” Mr Gear said.

Traders interviewed by the Herald still feared it was only a temporary solution like the Deep Water Point carpark, and reiterated calls to permanently extend free parking from one to three hours.

“I get at least two calls a day from customers asking me if the machines are on yet, saying if they are then they won’t be coming” says Claire Evans, who has run Sensations café for six years on Kearns Crescent.

“No-one actually stays here for more than three hours; you can do so much in that time. [The Riseley Centre] is supposed to be a hub, so you can come and visit multiple businesses while you’re here” she said, adding that under the new scheme restaurants are getting free parking after 6pm, while daytime businesses are “unfairly penalised”.

Kendal De Graaf’s clients have been coming to see her at Shendal’s for 27 years, and she says the parking scheme has hit her hairdressing business especially hard.

Unimpressed 

“A lot of my clients are here for two to three hours, so they have to pay for parking. They all say they’re really unimpressed the council is doing this in a residential area – it’s not the CBD. They do want to support local businesses but won’t pay if they don’t have to.”

Ms De Graaf reiterated concerns about staff safety.

“We’ve got girls that don’t finish until 8.30pm two nights a week, but I can’t afford security,” she said.

“It’s not fair to walk over a kilometre to and from a carpark in the dark, it’s not as simple as just ‘catch a bus’.”

by JUSTIN STAHL

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