People power puts paid to paid parking

Deep Water Point is a popular place to launch boats and other water craft. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Deep Water Point is a popular place to launch boats and other water craft. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

PAID parking at Deep Water Point has been postponed for at least one year following community uproar and a change of heart by local authorities.

There was backlash when the City of Melville gave just a week’s notice that paid parking would be in force at the Mt Pleasant foreshore park from July 15. It then back-flipped on the stance just 72 hours before the meters were set to start taking credit cards and coins.

At Tuesday night’s council meeting councillors backed a motion from Mayor Russell Aubrey to postpone paid parking for vehicles and investigate if charging for parking at the popular picnic destination should be part of next year’s council budget planning.

When the Gazette visited on Monday, park users were united in their opposition to the $2.30 hourly charge.

“If you are coming down for three or four hours that’s $10 plus the money you would spend at Dome,” Alicia Hayes said.

Dome managing director Nigel Oakey has also urged the council to avoid charging for parking, telling councillors on Tuesday it would have a social impact.

It certainly had a social media impact, with local Facebook pages awash all week with people saying they’d go elsewhere for coffee if they were forced to pay for parking near Dome.

City chief executive Marten Tieleman had touted the park’s rising popularity – following construction of a new jetty, boat ramp, Dome cafe, changeroom, play equipment, swings and picnic area –  as the reason why the council needed to charge for parking.

Locals lamented the lack of consultation and suggested free short-term parking should be offered so as not to discourage cafe users or ratepayers who exercise at the park.

The City of Melville will add a further 40 parking bays at Deep Water Point within 12 months.

The council has also agreed to a trial of sharing car bays for vehicles with and without trailers and will install signs to make it clearer about which bays motorists can park in.

A report by an independent traffic management consultant will come to council to based on the usage of the car park and the shared parking trial ahead of any future paid parking decision.