THE City of Melville will investigate if it – like the City of Stirling – can outlaw wheel clamping in the wake of the past week’s bitter Hulme Court parking fiasco.
Local councillors on Tuesday asked their officers to research what changes to parking local laws would be required to stop private companies engaging in the practice.
About a dozen cars were clamped at the Hulme Court business precinct in Myaree on December 4, sparking an angry backlash on talkback radio and social media from customers and local shopkeepers.
Then on Monday, the company responsible confirmed it had decided to pull out of working Hulme Court, claiming it had been ‘kept in the dark’ about a reciprocal parking arrangement and, incredibly, may have been incorrectly clamping cars there for eight years.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, the motion from new councillor Tomas Fitzgerald also made clear that the council did not authorise wheel clamping in council-controlled parking areas and opposed the practice.
The City of Stirling recently became WA’s first local government to draft a law to ban wheel clamping but it is unclear at this stage whether Melville will follow a similar path.
Melville chief executive Marten Tieleman expressed uncertainty late last week on whether the council could have any control over how privately-owned car bays were managed.
“It is not clear if a local government would have authority to enforce a local law to ban wheel clamping, so it will be interesting to see how the State Government might approach this issue,” he said.
Premier Mark McGowan has said the State Government was looking at introducing laws to ban clamping.
Kardinya resident Tristan Lavalette was one of those clamed at Hulme Court on December 4 and was forced to pay $170 on the spot.
“They had an EFTPOS machine but it wasn’t working so we had to pay with our credit cards over the phone but the men still asked for photos of our credit cards,” he said.
“It was intimidating behaviour, there were young women in tears, it’s not what you’d expect when you are trying to support local businesses.”
Verde Brio Myaree co-owner Andy Huang said clamping had become an increasingly prominent issue during the past three months.
“It’s definitely a ridiculous situation, customers are feeling like they are going to get wheel clamped and they don’t feel safe,” he said.
“We’ve had customers come in or message us that they aren’t going to come back unless this is resolved.” after the issue came to a head when about a dozen people were targeted at Hulme Court in Myaree.