A SPEARWOOD couple who received a $100 fine and impound notice for parking their camper trailer next to their house to show a potential buyer say Cockburn council’s bylaws are inconsistent and can be weaponised in neighbourhood disputes.
Christine and Domenic Breglia live in the Ocean Road development on the old Watsonia factory site, next door to a small dead end with a handful of parking bays they say are rarely ever used.
Ms Breglia says back in November they got a response to an advert for their camper, so they took it out of their garage to do some detailing and put it in one of the bays. They ran an electrical cord across their back fence and into the kitchen so they could show the fridge working.
But Cockburn’s parking law prohibits unattached trailers or caravans on verges and roadsides, and when a neighbour complained, the rangers turned up and issued the fine.
What angers the Breglias is that within 100 metres of their home are at least a dozen other caravans, trailers, boats and jetskis parked on verges; often in more inconvenient locations and none sporting a fine.
“It’s a pick and choose infringement,” Ms Breglia says.
Mr Breglia says apart from a short walk in the park at the rear of their property, the couple were home all day waiting for the potential buyer and can’t understand why the ranger didn’t knock on their door, given the electrical cord going into their house was a dead giveaway.
He also fears the couple might have been targeted by a nearby resident who claims their daughter scratched her car – an allegation they deny – despite the caravan having no impact on her property.
“I can understand if it’s your neighbour, but when it’s someone miles away, that doesn’t seem fair,” he said.
It’s not the first trouble he’s had with rangers, as a few years ago he regularly parked a boat near the park’s entrance, believing it wasn’t in anyone’s way, but the council put a stop to that by installing a big limestone block.
Neither really want a council crackdown, saying they’ve got no issue with the area’s illegally-parked extras, but say either the council needs to apply the laws consistently or start thinking more about how it deals with higher-density living where block sizes don’t leave much room for storage.
Their own garage has been built to take a caravan and two vehicles.
The council’s head of community safety and rangers Mike Emery said he couldn’t comment on the matter as Mr Breglia had elected to challenge the fine in court.
“The City actively monitors parking across the city, responding with infringements if a brech is detected,” Mr Emery said.
“The City responds to and investigates dozens of complaints from the community each week about illegal parking.”
by STEVE GRANT