Wyndham council has slugged drivers more than $1.1 million in parking fines over the past year – nearly double the amount of the previous 12 months.
During 2014-15, the council issued 11,561 parking fines, totalling more than $1.14 million, with the bulk of fines gleaned from Watton Street, the off-street carpark at Hoppers Crossing shopping centre, on Leakes Road and Woodbury Street and the off-street Troupe carpark.
It’s a big leap from last year’s figures, when the council issued 6760 parking fines, totalling $651,224.
Wyndham chief executive Kerry Thompson stressed that the council would not see the full $1.14 million due to drivers contesting fines or simply not paying on time.
She said the council employed three parking officers – two across the city and one dedicated to Werribee’s CBD.
To add to the city’s parking woes, the council has issued a moratorium on any new business parking permits in Werribee’s CBD.
That means employees without permits must move their cars every couple of hours or face a fine.
Wyndham council advocacy director Bill Forrest said new business parking permits had not been issued for Werribee’s CBD since February this year, because the demand for permits exceeded the availability of spaces.
Business parking permits for Old Geelong Road and the Princes Highway are still available online, however, Mr Forrest would not say when the moratorium might be lifted.
“Existing permits can be renewed, but they are now registered to a business rather than an individual employee as this allows for greater flexibility of use by employees within a business.”
Mr Forrest said business permits had been reviewed during the council’s Werribee city centre parking strategy, which will be tabled at the next council meeting on July 27.
The draft parking strategy also considered a multi-storey carpark in Werribee’s central business district, which locals have petitioned to be built.
Nick Christou, who co-owns The Park Hotel on Watton Street, said the parking permit moratorium had made it difficult for business owners and their employees to park in Werribee CBD without getting fined.
“I know a lot of traders are up in arms about it,” Mr Christou said. “They’re also very concerned that the parking here will deter customers when there are other retail precincts opening up.
“We need to have some action that’s going to alleviate the problem of parking.”