eComplaints hold up parking permits

PARKING permits will soon go digital in Vincent, but some residents are unhappy about a lack of consultation.

Three readers have contacted the Voice with various concerns about the new system, which sees residents create an account where they can lodge their rego number as well as those of guests. 

Rangers will use number plate scanners to automatically figure out who’s allowed ‚Äì and who cops a fine. 

Council staff reckon it solves the problem of permits being lost, stolen, falling off the dash or disappearing with a visitor, and there’s no waiting period while a paper one gets printed and posted.

But Highgate’s Gordon Lee told the Voice people without computers or the internet would be unable to join the online system. 

North Perth’s John Matthews said he couldn’t see it fixing the current system’s problems of low-priority streets rarely being patrolled, or the leniency shown to bad parkers.

This week another reader said that without permits on dashboards, residents couldn’t tell if their streets were clogged with illegal parkers. She had a dozen other questions about how it would operate and says the council should have consulted.

The change wasn’t run past councillors, with Vincent’s admin viewing it as a simple technology switch they had the delegated authority to implement.

Vincent mayor Emma Cole believes elected members should have been alerted to the pros and cons, and given the chance to decide if it had to go out for community consultation; almost all changes that go in front of council get advertised unless they’re extremely minor or technical.

Communication

Instead, some councillors only learned of the new system when letters went out to existing permit holders and some started arcing up.

Ms Cole says the new system will be better, but; “I really think we could have done a much better job on communication with that, and that’s something I’ve raised with the CEO”.

As a result of the complaints, paper permits will remain for people who can’t access the e-permit system through disability or lack of internet access.

Ms Cole says a new letter will be going out in the next couple of weeks properly explaining the e-permit system and she says it does have a lot of benefits.

Rangers will be able to hit more streets since they can sweep an area just by driving through rather than scrutinising permits on foot, and visitor passes can be instantly added from a computer or phone so you can give a tradie a visitor pass if they stop by while you’re not home.

“When you look at the benefits, I think they do outweigh the existing permit system,” Ms Cole says.

There’s been a couple of instances where Vincent council’s not been kept in the loop by Vincent staff recently, like the state government’s long term cycle plan which councillors became aware of two years after staff first heard of it.

Ms Cole says councillors have again requested the administration complete a 

“Community Engagement Framework,” a year-overdue policy that’d make it clear what has to go out for community consultation.

“A community engagement framework’s something that council has been seeking for some time,” Ms Cole says, adding “we wouldn’t have these situations” if it was in place. 

by DAVID BELL

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