The Flinders Community Association and other stakeholders have been very active for many months advocating against the proposed Paid Parking Pilot in Flinders, which is due to start on 1 December 2023. The FCA has made lengthy written Submissions highlighting the issues associated with the implementation of the Pilot at the Flinders Pier Precinct and had numerous discussions with Council officers. The Paid Parking Scheme relies on Ratepayers and Residents of the Peninsula to register their vehicles online and via the use of the PayStay App. Only in this way can Ratepayers and Residents obtain the EPermit that exempts them from paying for parking.
Ratepayers and Residents were ONLY notified of the commencement of the online registration process via a Social Media post on the MPSC Facebook page on 15th November. Many Community members of various ages and demographics do not access Social Media and rely on email or mail communication from Council regarding matters that affect them. Those that did try to register online found the process unwieldy and not user friendly. The Registration process relied on certain proofs of residency such than a Rates or utility Notice together with proof of vehicle ownership to be uploaded. In many cases this type of information is simply not available. For instance where the full time partner of a ‘a Ratepayer or Resident’ does not appear on a Rates or utility notice but owns their own car. What kind of proof of residency does the MPSC require to enable the issue of a permit?
Mary Iles, President of the Flinders Community Association, said today “The application for residents’ free parking permit is very slow and awkward with difficult to follow requirements, the website is unstable and the process is a fiasco. Many other issues have been raised with Council to ensure a far simpler outcome. Even signage which has already been installed at the Flinders Pier is misleading”.
There has been no stakeholder end user testing of a process that has created confusion with many residents having their permit applications rejected or simply unable to access the website or upload the relevant documentation required. Residents are angry at the arrogance of Council who have not listened to many Community concerns about implementing a Pilot that is totally inappropriate for the small village of Flinders.
Mary added “The proposed parking fees on visitors is a mean-spirited impost that will prohibit low-income families from visiting the area, who will instead gravitate to other areas of the Peninsula where beach parking remains free. The proposed parking fees will also impact local aquaculture businesses that operate from the Flinders Pier and discriminate against those people that don’t use apps, where English is not their first language or don’t use a mobile phone”.
“It will have a direct impact on our small local economy and furthermore, it will push young families to park further away from the foreshore, exacerbating an already perilous situation where there is no safe pedestrian pathway that leads down from the Monument to the Flinders Pier Precinct. Mixing walkers, the elderly, children and prams with cars and trucks towing boats along the narrow road with a hairpin bend is very dangerous.
We begged Council for wider community consultation, a public meeting and proper risk assessment before the decision was taken and believe that, had they consulted widely there would been a very different outcome.”