Waverley Mayor Proposes Biggest Overhaul Of Parking

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.

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.

“Parking is the single biggest issue for many residents,” he said.

“The current system does not support residents in their daily lives. Residents need to be able to get to local shops quickly to buy basic things such as break and milk. When residents go out to eat in the local area they don’t want to be fined for over-staying the meter,” Mayor Wakefield said.

Council officers have prepared a detailed report on the proposal, which outlines the key benefits and impacts of the proposal and the cost implications for each of its six initiatives. The total maximum cost of the Mayor’s proposal is estimated at $3.8 million. The 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
  • 15-minutes free “drop in” zones near/in local shopping strips.

The officers’ report was tabled at Council’s Operations and Community Services meeting last night (Tuesday 6 February). Council voted to receive the report, and requested that Council officers provide additional information to the community including the administrative costs of processing parking permit applications, the effect on businesses and the implications for car ownership.

Mayor Wakefield said he was happy to look at all impacts of the proposal. “I am deeply committed to transparency,” he said. “We will put everything to our residents, including any revision of the total costs of the proposal.”

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.”

Mayor Wakefield said Council would now begin extensive community consultation on the parking proposal, including the additional information. An external consultant would be appointed to conduct the consultation with the community.