NEW 24-7 fees at a popular riverside carpark in Crawley have sparked fears the City of Perth is testing the water for all-day charges along the Swan River.
A petition against the change claims the fees are inconsistent because tickets are only needed nearby from 8am to 6pm on workdays.
“Nothing like a local government money grab,” kitesurfer Juddy O’Malley said.
The City’s $2/hour, all-day fees at the JH Abraham Reserve carpark, which serves the watersport spot known as Pelican Point, started about two weeks ago.
They replaced a City of Subiaco regime that only charged UWA students, windsurfers, kitesurfers and picnicking families from 9am and 5pm on weekdays.
The carpark was transferred to the City of Perth two years ago.
“If all-day fees work here they could start introducing charging all along the river, no one will come down here any more, which is ironic when we are all be told to do more recreation and have healthy lifestyles,” petitioner and Perth ratepayer Emiliya Peneva said.
Mrs Peneva and her windsurfing husband Nicolay Dimitrov calculated windsurfers and kitesurfers would spend $936 a year for three three-hour sessions each week along Pelican Point, near to where families gather in the reserve to spend afternoons watching people on the water.
“People say we take up the parking spots, but we don’t because when the wind is up people are gone,” Mr Dimitrov said.
Kitesurfer Dean Babic said those who worked or had children often went to the spot because it was the only location for the two watersports on the north side of the river, where conditions also permitted teaching children stand-up paddling and kayaking.
The complaints are supported by Windsurfing WA president Tim Brazier who said the lobby had not been consulted by City of Perth, when City of Subiaco had been “good about keeping us informed”, and the fees should used to improve the lawns, riverwalls and degraded public toilets and not go into general revenue.
“The key question is why we should pay after 5pm,” WA Kite Surfing Association president Drew Norton said, whose association’s members back the petition.
A City of Perth spokesman said 24-7 fees encouraged parking turnover and the “additional revenue” was used for community services, works and operations, including JH Abrahams’ upkeep, prioritised “for the broader needs of the City of Perth”.
The spokesman said the car park’s use was monitored to “strike the right balance of equal public access, price and its responsibilities to the ratepayers of the City of Perth”.
The currently 185-signature petition is at www.change.org/p/city-of-perth-return-free-parking-on-weekends-for-families-wind-and-kite-surfers-at-pelican-point-crawley.