Respondents have their say on whether they would support a rate payer funded parking levy

More than 60 per cent of respondents in an online poll support the idea of a rate payer funded parking levy.

Warrnambool resident Les Hawkins, 80, was on the council for two terms in the eighties and contacted The Standard with the idea this week

Mr Hawkins believes that an annual levy as part of residents’ council rates would generate a similar revenue as what the parking meters currently do. 

Mr Hawkins said it would mean free parking for residents and visitors and would encourage more shoppers into the CBD which was “struggling” during the city renewal works. 

In 2016/17 Warrnambool City Council collected parking fees of $1.178 million and there were 16,738 rateable properties. Using these figures the proposed parking levy would translate to about $70 per rateable property per year. 

When contacted for the original article, mayor Robert Anderson did not say whether the levy would be something council would consider now or in the future. 

The online poll attracted 341 responses with 60 per cent of respondents supporting the idea. Of the respondents, 78 per cent were Warrnambool ratepayers.

The Facebook post attracted 193 comments with people proposing their own take on Mr Hawkins idea.

Some people commented that the concept was worth discussing but may need “work shopping or revising”, while others who don’t visit the main street said there would be no way they would support the proposal.

One Facebook comment called for a free bus into the CBD while others suggested a parking permit that Warrnambool residents could pay for to park, while also adhering to the signed time limits.

“It ( permits) already happens in certain residential areas,” Mandy Knee said. “It solves issues for elderly, disabled and anyone struggling with the new meters.”  

Lee Boswell said ratepayers should get free parking while Paul Thomas said it was a “stupid idea” and parking should be a user pays system. 

Matt Colla said the idea “had merit but (was) not equitable in today’s society”.

Giorgio Palmeri said his household had not paid $70 in parking in the 20 years they had lived in Warrnambool. “I’ve paid $0 in the last two years... Plus if I own three properties I have to pay $210 and the tenants pay $0.”

Mr Palmeri said the proposal would not benefit the whole community and those not wanting to use the CBD would “have to pay a fee for something that won’t benefit them”. 

“Such change will only benefit people working in the CBD or serial shoppers,” Mr Palmeri said. 

Darren McCosh said it was a great idea if you were not a ratepayer. “Rates are dear enough without adding more on,” he said. 

Davena Edwards did not support the idea. “It’s bad enough that we pay rates that give the rate payer not very much. Nor are rates the same for all. Why now are we to pay for others to park as well?”

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