Arcade parking woes

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A Pakenham business owner fed up with people parking for longer than the legal limit near Centre Court Arcade has taken law enforcement into his own hands.

Centre Court Book Exchange owner Jim Gregory told the Gazette he had recorded about 40 cars having parked for longer than the two-hour limit along Treloar Lane since April.

He said he occasionally placed notes on car windscreens to alert drivers that any further infraction from the same registration number would be reported to Cardinia Shire Council.

“There are 150 all-day parking spaces off Cook Drive just around the corner,” Mr Gregory said.

“I can get half the amount of customers on days when those car parks are taken up for most of the day.

“When I contacted the council in late April, they told me they only had one or two bylaw officers to cover the whole shire. They’re just not enforcing it.”

Mr Gregory said the majority of drivers who overstayed their welcome in the parking bays were other staff members who work in the arcade or on Main Street.

Arcade business owner Mark, from Mark’s Hairdressing, said car parking had been a long-term problem affecting the arcades off Main Street, Pakenham.

“We’re in an arcade and we’ve got to make our businesses as accessible to people as possible. We’re all trying to run a business and compete with Marketplace,” he said.

“I’m in the business of cutting men’s hair, and I have some older male customers who would find it difficult walking a long distance and have a walking frame.

“I get some people coming in, saying they had to walk a fair way or drive around the block a few times looking for a park.

“It’s not being enforced, and I think there are some stubborn people who like to take advantage of that.”

Lily’s Hair and Beauty hairdresser Marie Hansen Nooy said she had received one of Mr Gregory’s notes on her windscreen the evening of Kylie Blackwood’s fund-raising dinner earlier this year.

She said there was a strong need for all-day designated staff parking closer to Main Street.

“I was nervous and getting ready for our special angel K’s dinner, and then I got to my car to find what I initially thought was a parking ticket,” Ms Hansen Nooy said.

“I was so mad and sad and unsettled. People might be sick or have lost someone recently, and it’s just unnecessary to put people through that stress.

“It’s been going on for many months, and is scaring people and customers from parking there.

“I want to park closer to work because I’m worried about my safety. I have seven kids and all-day parking’s 200 metres away. With late night hairdressing jobs, we can be working until 9pm some nights.

“We as workers or shop owners or anybody who works full days in local business should not have to walk to a gravel, unlit carpark at all hours of the evening to access our cars.”

Council compliance services co-ordinator Shannon Maynard said that due to the shire’s rapid growth, there was a huge demand to enforce many issues.

Mr Maynard said his unit received many complaints about parking.

“Council officers routinely conduct proactive patrols throughout the year, throughout all our timed parking areas,” he said.

“The council has received three complaints this year regarding Treloar Lane parking, resulting in three enforcement patrols and 43 fines issued.

“Council received a complaint regarding notes placed on windscreens, and advised the complainant that the council has no legal power to act on this complaint.”

Mr Maynard said it was a police-actionable offence for anybody other than an enforcement agency to place a notice on a vehicle.

Originally published at Pakenham Gazette.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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