PARKERS who overstay just a little bit would have a second chance to pay the extra parking fee and avoid a fine under a system proposed by Stirling councillor Joe Ferrante.
Cr Ferrante, who recently copped a parking fine himself, reckons they should drop the fine if the person overstays no more than 90 minutes, and if they pay for the extra time within 24 hours via a parking app.
He says it’s fair enough because “this will allow for situations where a paid parking user who accidentally runs over time and would have genuinely paid for the additional time be exempted from the fine”.
Cr Ferrante says easing up on parking enforcement would help Stirling live up to its “City of Choice” motto, and the plan was an “opportunity for us as a council to look at this and be good supporters of the public”.
Cr Suzanne Migdale agreed: “I think it’s time that we all be very mindful this year especially with the economy being the way it is, that handing out speeding tickets left, right and centre is going to greatly affect businesses that have already been greatly affected.
“I received a parking ticket in a particular city – not Stirling, to be clear – recently during the holidays. And I haven’t been back there. I have not been back there to businesses I would normally go and spend money at. It turned me off completely.”
Cr Ferrante’s motion to investigate the idea was passed at the February 7 council meeting.
It’ll take a while to come to fruition: Council parking staff wrote a report saying “the request is complex and will require substantial investigation and a detailed review to determine the feasibility”.
Three councillors – Felicity Farrelly, Bianca Sandri, and mayor Mark Irwin – thought the plan was too complex to bother with given how few tickets are issued to over-stayers.
Generally the rangers fine people with no ticket at all, or who’ve parked in particularly egregious no-parking zones, on footpaths, or in accessible parking bays.
Stirling’s community safety manager Peter Mullins told councillors that his rangers very rarely fine over-stayers: “We do afford about a 10 to 15 minute grace period for people who might have an expired ticket… we don’t typically write a lot of infringement notices for that,” with only 47 expired ticket fines issued this financial year.
Cr Sandri calculated that meant less than 0.03 per cent of the city’s population would cop a fine.
“Which probably highlights that Cr Ferrante was one of the very few people in the city who got fined,” Mr Irwin chuckled.
by DAVID BELL