Maribyrnong council has lost close to $3.5 million in potential revenue since halting paid parking in central Footscray and Yarraville almost 18 months ago.
Councillors will be briefed this month on a redrafted Destination Parking Management Policy, 12 months after the previous council voted down the then proposed policy as “vague” and lacking in detail.
The redrafted policy has been developed in response to the 2015 freeze on parking meters that followed a ferocious backlash to their introduction in Yarraville village in what was a bid to increase vehicle turnover.
Vandals smashed a number of the machines and filled them with adhesive before they could even be switched on.
While the council has estimated $200,000 is lost for every month the machines remain off, it faces stiff resistance to any moves to switch the meters back on.
Yarraville Traders Association president Chris Xanthis said the association was writing to the council to propose an alternative plan.
“We are going to express our opposition to paid parking in Yarraville – we feel it should be going back to how it used to be,” he said.
“It’s easy to introduce parking meters, but we believe there are other solutions.”
A joint Melbourne University and Monash University study last year reported an average drop in takings of 24 per cent by Yarraville traders after paid parking was introduced.
Footscray traders are divided over whether paid parking should return, but united in their view any parking fees in central Footscray must be matched in Yarraville.
Footscray Traders Association president Stuart Lucca-Pope said businesses that needed customers on their premises for longer periods would prefer the machines stay switched off, while others are struggling from the lack of turnover.
“People are parking here all day and there are those who want a higher turnover and occupancy availability,” he said. “But they [meters] would also need to be switched back on in Yarraville – it needs to be uniform.”
The introduction of paid parking in Yarraville in 2015 led to an acrimonious split of the former council and a physical assault on two councillors by a resident in the council chamber.
The three councillors who voted for the introduction of paid parking – Grant Miles, Nam Quach and Cameron McDonald – did not contest last year’s election.
An officer’s report on the redrafted Destination Parking Management Policy will go before a council meeting in coming weeks.