The use of paid parking meters in Warrnambool should be banned immediately in light of a state of emergency being declared over the coronavirus, former councillor Peter Hulin has warned.
"The use of parking meters should immediately halted because it's the elderly that are finding it difficult to use the apps and they are actually doing it manually," he said.
"And that is a clear way of spreading the virus and we need to protect the elderly. That has to be halted immediately.
"There needs to be an increase of cleaning the toilets and infrastructure around our city. There needs to be hand sanitisers placed throughout the city.
"We haven't got time to sit on our hands with this. We've got to act soon or it will be too late."
Mr Hulin also called on the council to come up with a support package for businesses.
"There needs to be no rate increase into the future. There needs to be rate help for businesses who will be struggling to even pay them now and there needs to be regular updates on local conditions and actions taken by the council," he said.
Mr Hulin said the council had to be proactive, not reactive.
"We've got a situation now where we can implement things that can help in the long run control this virus in our city," he said.
"I'm extremely concerned for businesses and I'm extremely concerned for the elderly."
Mr Hulin said he was disappointed in the seemingly non-action of the council.
"It's not good enough. Just not good enough at all," he said.
"It's very important what's going on and what we do can save people's lives.
"And I just can't believe that so far into this virus that we haven't discovered that these parking meters would be a classic way of spreading the virus to people and the elderly are the ones that use it.
"I can't believe that we haven't done anything about it.
"If these people that we've elected to be our representatives are doing nothing, do we sit back and do nothing as a community?"
Mayor Tony Herbert said he would be happy to hear Mr Hulin's concerns and urged him to raise the issue with councillors or council staff.
The council's chief executive officer Peter Schneider said that in relation to the risks posed by COVID-19, the council took its advice from the Department of Health and Human Services.
"Advice from the department is regularly updated and the council is responding accordingly.," he said.
"Budget discussions are currently under way and no decisions in relation to future rates have been made.
"COVID-19 will affect, in some way, all residents and ratepayers."
Mr Schneider said the Australian Government was introducing business stimulus measures which were aimed at supporting the commercial sector.
"The local government sector is also working collectively on responses to COVID-19, which could include advocacy for those experiencing financial hardship, through the Municipal Association of Victoria," he said.
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