28 DAYS LATER
Precious parking spaces on the North Shore will now be given back to residents after years when boats monopolised areas and owners parked in local streets for weeks or months on end.
For many years the trail of boats has angered residents and frustrated local councils who did not have the legislative capacity to have them impounded. But the NSW state government has moved to target these boats and their owners, giving North Shore councils the option of impounding them after 28 days, but with a 15-day notice period.
The changes could not come soon enouh for some residents of Redan Street, Mosman, who have been living with boats clogging up the street for years on end.
At one point, at least 14 boats were parked for long periods in Redan Street, which is located on Balmoral slopes and easy reach of boat ramps at Balmoral and Middle Harbour.
Kelly Latimer, who is a long-time resident of Redan Street, says it is a “constant battle” for residents looking to park their cars.
“They are an absolute eyesore," Ms Latimer tells North Shore Living. “Some have been parked for months – people buy these boats, park them outside someone's house and lose interest.
“Consequently some just seem to sit there for years - forgotten. Anyone wanting to do renovations has to get approval for skips but these boat owners have just seemed to evade the laws up to this point. It has not been fair treatment for everyone,‘ she says.
North Sydney, mayor Jilly Gibson has welcomed the new legislation, saying the time is up for these boat owners and now the council will be clearing the streets.
"In North Sydney there are around 22,000 on-street parking spaces, approximately 62,000 residents and a further 51,000 people who work in the area competing for space," she confirms.
"In the past, boats and trailers have been left parked in the same spot for weeks or even months on end, without moving.
This is incredibly frustrating for residents who, as a result, have been unable to find a parking spot near their homes.
"In some cases, concerns have been raised with me about road safety because these boats and trailers have made visibility difficult for pedestrians and drivers."
NSW local government Minister Paul Toole says the new measures should help councils "better manage" boats clogging up North Shore streets.
"This has always been about striking the right balance," he says. "We are letting councils make the decisions about what is best for their local community. They have the ability to decide what areas need to be targeted, and if there is no current residential parking permit, owners will only be able to park for 28 days."
Residents and councils admit that the enforcement of the new regulations will be "challenging". The government has confirmed boat owners will be warned and then have 15 days to move. But some owners will only have a move to the next block to evade the rangers and having the craft impounded.
Mr Toole says the government has also set aside $5 million to help establish off-street boat parking and will liaise with local councils to identify possible areas.
Mosman councillor Roy Bendall claims the boats in streets issue has been a problem that the council has been attempting to deal with for the past four years.
"The problem has not been about residents who park their boats in front of their own homes but those who park for long periods in front of other homes.
"As areas like Mosman and North Sydney are close to the water, boats are being brought in from other suburbs. They drive here, hook up their boat and then drive to the nearest ramp," counsillor Bendall explains.
"Hopefully, with this new legislation, we can start impounding some of these serial offenders."