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NEW PARKING SENSORS ignite FURY

Published:
17/09/2016
Author:
Think Local

Mosman traders Joseph Arena, George Capar and Peter Geare have slammed Mosman Council for introducing its new parking policy, which they say will be implemented without community consultation and will drive away shoppers, increase the incidence of fines and destroy a "unique village atmosphere.”

    This month, Mosman will join North Sydney in installing 500 in-ground parking sensors, which will be connected to state-of-the-art technology in the form of an app showing enforcement officers where motorists have gone over time - enabling them to issue fines.

    The traders say they are representing more than 100 businesses who have signed a petition against the move.

   "It's unbelieveable - it's a joke," George Capar tells North Shore Living. Mr Capar is the owner of Avant-Garde Dry Cleaners and has been at the Military Rd location since 1976. He says shoppers and regulars can currently get a half-hour park along this area of Military Rd without fearing a parking fine if they go just one minute over time.

    "All the shopkeepers are opposed to this. It's just revenue raising - pure and simple," he says. "It will be an impediment to people visiting the area and we will see a drop in trade, the same as has happened in areas like Paddington and Leichardt which have been destroyed."

    In a statement issued in December, Mosman Council defended the move saying residents using the new app would also be able to find the nearest park and describing the devices as "exciting and offering real-time solutions to the areas parking problems."

   Mosman's director of environment and planning, Craig Covich, said parking and traffic flow had "long been a concern for motorists and local businesses", explaining, "The community has told us about their concerns about parking and driving around for an extended period of time - adding to traffic congestion." He denies it will be used for "enforcement purposes".

   But traders strongly disagree.

   "Of course they will use it for enforcement," says Joseph Arena. "If they don't use it straight away it will certainly come. It's underhanded and it will impact on everyone and it will scare away our customers. People simply do not know that the council is implementing these sensors."

   Currently, Mosman Council collects $2.5 million a year in parking fines and traders say this new technology will see this figure skyrocket. Mosman Councillor Simon Menzies, who opposes the new parking technology, says the council will invest about $200,000 in the new technology.

   “In the long-term, the rangers will walk along with a hand-help device and slap a ticket on you if you go overtime," Cr Menzies says. "There has been no community consultation on the implementation and eventually rangers will get a text when a motorist has gone over the limit.”

   Cr Menzies says the council has ordered hundreds of the sensors in one "mega order".

"Why is the council doing this when we are one step away from a forced amalgamation process? Why are we spending $200,0000?”

    Local IGA manager Peter Geare tells North Shore Living he is horrified by the prospect of in-ground sensors along the Military Rd village area.

    "We are already losing customers to Cremorne and Neutral Bay and this will make it worse," he says. "There are so many things the council could spend ratepayers' money on - but not this. It's completely stupid."

   Figures show that North Sydney Council has received a large spike in parking revenue since the installation of the sensor technology in the area. NRMA statistics show the council made over $3.8 million in the last six months of 2015 - an increase of $600,000 on the previous year.

    The new sensors detect the exact time a car arrives in a parking bay and leaves.If the motorist overstays, it shows on an app which is linked to the ranger's iPad.

    Mosman traders reject claims the new technology will "solve the parking problems in the area". "Although it's busy people can always get a park in the area," says Mr Arena. "I would say 99.9 per cent of my customers would not have any idea that the council is installing this in the coming weeks. It will be quite a shock."

   "Mosman will just get a reputation as a place to get a parking fine - rather than a village to purchase quality foods and merchandise," he says.

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