Ditching the city's parking metres in favour of a new sensor system to allow free timed parking in the CBD is high on the priority list for a Warrnambool council candidate.
Steve Moore says the new system would be a "win-win" for shoppers and the council, and would bring the CBD back to life.
Under the SmartSensors parking system, an in-ground sensor would be installed at every parking bay which would send a message to parking inspectors when vehicles had overstayed.
Mr Moore said the cheaper technology would allow the council to do away with paid parking altogether, and the fines could be lowered from $80 to $20.
He said that by making the fine so low it would deter people from overstaying but not put them off returning to the CBD to shop.
Mr Moore said the technology was relatively quick to install with up to 500 sensors able to be fixed to the road in one day.
He said it would eliminate the need for parking inspectors to collect coins, and would bring to an end the frustration of the elderly and visitors who had often got caught in the rain trying to work out how to use the city's metres.
Mr Moore said he avoided going to the CBD because he too got frustrated with the machines.
"I prefer not to go in there," he said.
He said he would like to see the council look at this option when the lease expired on the current parking metres which he estimated could be a couple of years away.
He said he had contacted the company and was told it would cost $5000 a month over three years to operate the system for 500 parking bays - a cost he said would be covered by the fines.
Mr Moore said other Victorian councils had successfully adopted the technology including Mornington Peninsula, Yarra City, Wyndham, Maribyrnong and Whitehorse.
He said the system also had access to an app which would tell you where free parks were located.
It would also give council valuable data on where people where parking and at what times.
The new system would be contactless, Mr Moore said, which would reduce the spread of germs during pandemics.
He said witnessing people being fined on Tuesday in a car park that was half-empty was proof that something needed to be done about parking in the city.
"With money so tight at the moment, it was a bit overboard," he said.
Parking revenue is worth between $120,00 to $170,000 a month to the council budget.
Before COVID-19 hit the council finances, it was making as much as $1.5 million from parking fees a year with and an additional $680,000 handed out in fines and infringements.
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