Parking meters across the Inner West will be turned off once again after they were reactivated last Monday in a move that could cost $640,000 in loss of Council revenue.
Throughout the COVID-19 lockdowns this year, Inner West Council elected to turn off their parking meters to support the local businesses and residents throughout the period but had been turned back on once the NSW Government eased restrictions after the state hit 70 per cent double-vaccination numbers earlier this month. With restaurants, cafés and bars reopening, Council turned the meters back on in retail and commercial centres to begin a transition period whereby warnings would be issued for metered or timed parking breaches.
“People have become very upset … and very concerned that they see parking rangers going around our main streets in Balmain, Rozelle and Leichhardt,” Inner West Mayor Rochelle Porteous said in her Mayoral Minute at last week’s council meeting.
“[It’s] causing quite a lot of distress in that councillors are not listening to the community; the community needs time, the businesses need time, and the best way to help at the moment is to do things like leave those parking meters off for a longer period of time.”
Mayor Porteous proposed that Council extend the period where parking meters are turned off until the end of the year, to allow businesses and the community time to recover and be reacquainted with their local retail and commercial centres without the “extra impost of paying for parking”.
With Christmas shopping set to begin, Councillor John Stamolis suggested that parking meters may be important to recovering businesses and main streets that will be reliant on high turnover for survival.
Deputy Mayor Pauline Lockie echoed Stamolis’ turnover concerns and added that turning off parking meters may create congestion and confusion on the Inner West borders.
“Newtown is really well serviced by public transport, but if we make driving there the most attractive or cheaper way to get there it will only encourage more cars in the area,” Deputy Mayor Lockie said.
“City of Sydney have parking meters, I don’t think they have any intention of turning them off, and so we’d end up in a situation where we’d have one set of rules, the City has another, and it’ll end up pushing a lot of the traffic, the parking demand onto our side of the LGA and the residential streets going forward.”
Deputy Mayor Lockie put forward an amendment suggesting that further consultation be taken with affected businesses about the status of parking meters in the coming months, which was adopted into the successful motion.