CITY of Perth has backed down after windsurfers and kite surfers protested against controversial 24-7 parking fees at their only spot on the north side of the Swan River at JH Abrahams Reserve in Crawley.
“It’s a great outcome, and it’s good seeing the City supporting windsurfers and kite surfers that use that car park, and the community by encouraging recreation by families in general,” Windsurfing WA president Tim Brazier said.
In March, the City imposed all day, all weekend charges at the reserve carpark at the former Qantas flying boat ramp at the southern end of UWA.
Until council border changes in 2016, the carpark had been under the control of the City of Subiaco, which did not charge after 5pm on weekdays and on weekends.
The change to 24-7 parking fees prompted ire and publicity, before Perth lawyer Emiliya Peneva organised a 300-signature petition that was circulated among the windsurfing and kitesurfing communities.
The petition contested the charges would stop families, kite surfers and windsurfers using the reserve, that there had been no consultation and the City’s fees were inconsistent because they stopped at the end of the day and weekends at Matilda Bay just 300m away.
Last Friday, Ms Peneva was told by the council’s complaints department the City would bring JH Abraham’s carpark in line with the Matilda Bay fees and not charge after 5pm weekdays and weekends, while there would be a $2 an hour fee 8am-5pm weekdays.
“I think they’ll all now be very happy because I went there a few times since the 24-hour charge and the reserve was dead and the carpark empty,” Ms Peneva said.
She was told the reversion to the former fees regime would be trialled and monitored for three months.
Asked how much the City had spent on changing to 24-7 fees and back again, chair of commissioners Eric Lumsden said the fee schedule was “updated” to 24-7 to increase car bay turnover.
Mr Lumsden did not reply directly when asked what in the three-month trial could prevent it from being made permanent, but he said the City continually reviewed parking, including at JH Abrahams Reserve, so it had now amended payable hours at that car park, and data from the trial would be used for future decisions.