Waverley Council hopes to be next to turn off the meters

MEDIA RELEASE:

Waverley Council’s Mayor, Cr John Wakefield, has unveiled a radical proposal to overhaul
Waverley’s parking fees and permits schemes that could save residents hundreds of dollars each
year and benefit local business.

Mayor Wakefield said the proposal marked a “new approach to parking where residents come first
in Waverley” and would help the Council move away from its reliance on revenue from parking
meters and permits.

Inner West Council has already acted to turn off parking meters after 7pm in key shopping strips.

“Our parking system needs to support residents in their daily lives. They should not have to pay for
parking outside their own homes. Residents also need to be able to get to local shops quickly to
buy groceries and access local services.” Mayor Wakefield said.

"We want local businesses to survive and prosper so that they continue to provide services to the
local community. This is the best way to minimise travel by ensuring services are local”, said the
Mayor.

The proposed changes include:

  • Removing the fee for the first residential parking permit
  • Providing a free beach parking permit for residents
  • Turning off all parking meters in Bondi Junction after 6pm
  • Turning off all parking meters in Bondi Beach after 7pm
  • 15-minute free parking in metre zone or
  • 15-minutes free “drop in” zones near/in local shopping strips.

Council officers have prepared a detailed report on the proposal, which outlines the key benefits,
impacts and costs of six initiatives. The total maximum cost of the Mayor’s proposal is estimated at
$4.88 million or 3.5% of Council’s annual revenue.

The consultation is a significant review of Council’s operations and the community will be involved
directly in the decision. Details and costs are available here (5 meg download)
https://www.haveyoursaywaverley.com.au/34730/documents/74375

“I believe parking policy shouldn't be dictated by the cash cow of meters, fines and permits but by
residents' needs and that the financial loss to Council is outweighed by the benefit to residents,” he
said.

The added impact of drop-in zones and turning off meters after a certain time will lure people back
to local shops and businesses. This will ensure the survival of these local businesses
Mayor Wakefield acknowledged that a loss of revenue was not an easy reality to face.

“It can be hard to break the habits of the past when it comes to raising revenue from parking fees and
permits,” Mayor Wakefield said.

“But it is time for us to look at different options. Our urban life is changing dramatically. Major
changes to our transport options, like driverless cars, are not that far away and we need to start
thinking about the future,” he said.

Mayor Wakefield said the proposal would require a recalibration of Council’s finances.

“We will be looking at where we can make more money and where we can save money,” he said.
“But we believe the community requires Council to look at this issue and come up with solutions.
The community consultation is the first stage.”

Mayor Wakefield said it was possible all the changes would not be accepted. “But it’s time we had
this debate and talked to our community.”