New parking fees anger blood donors

Annoyed: Blood and plasma donors Damian Chisholm, Warrnambool, John Smith, Port Fairy, and Rod Stephens, Warrnambool, are unhappy about the parking fees introduced outside of the Warrnambool Donor Centre. Picture: Rob Gunstone
Annoyed: Blood and plasma donors Damian Chisholm, Warrnambool, John Smith, Port Fairy, and Rod Stephens, Warrnambool, are unhappy about the parking fees introduced outside of the Warrnambool Donor Centre. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Warrnambool blood donors are angry they now have to pay for parking close to Warrnambool’s Blood Donor Centre.

Damian Chisholm of Warrnambool said it was not right that parking spaces next to the blood donor centre in Fairy Street became metered this week.

Mr Chisholm has been donating blood plasma every fortnight for the past five years at the centre and has used the free parking spaces next to the centre in Fairy Street every time.

He said it took about 90 minutes to give his blood plasma so he would have to use the metered two hour spaces further north on Fairy Street while he was at the centre.

The two hour spaces north of the centre and three one hour spaces in Fairy Street in front of the centre have previously been free for many years.

Mr Chisholm said blood donors should be granted an exemption from the parking fees.

John Smith of Port Fairy said it was “immoral” for the council to impose the fees when blood donors were making a free contribution to help others.

Rod Stephens said the parking fees essentially meant that many donors would pay to make their blood donation.

The donors were also concerned there had been no prior notification of the change in parking arrangements. 

Australian Red Cross Blood Service community relationships officer Colin Littlejohn said the service was disappointed it was not consulted about the installation of the parking meters.

A spokesperson for Warrnambool City Council said the meters had been installed “to create consistency” along the full length of Fairy Street between Merri Street and Raglan Parade.

The spokesperson said the council encouraged those making donations at the centre to consider the free parking options in Merri Street or in the car park to the south of the TAFE that were only a short walk away.

The council said funds raised from metered parking were used to maintain car parks including sealing, line-marking, lighting and footpath construction.

The parking spaces near the donor centre are being metered with new “pay by plate” smart meters that allow the paid time to be transferred to other parking zones in Warrnambool.