Time is running out for parking meters

A parking meter in Buckingham Avenue, Springvale. 146876 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Casey Neill

The fate of Springvale’s much-debated parking meters will be decided on 27 February.
When Greater Dandenong councillor Youhorn Chea was re-elected he vowed to ask his colleagues to remove the on-street and Warwick Avenue car park meters at their first official meeting.
“The residents don’t want the ticket machines in Springvale,” he said.
“I always put residents first.”
At the Monday 28 November meeting, he moved a motion requesting a report come to the Monday 27 February meeting for debate and a decision.
Cr Chea said that under Meeting Procedure Local Law he couldn’t move a motion directly seeking the meters’ removal.
“Given the financial costs and implications of the proposal it would require an officer report against which council could ultimately take a decision,” he said.
“The parking ticket machines have been in place for some time and at the end of November 2016 a full year assessment will have been made on all aspects of the parking ticket machines.
“Sometime after that, a comprehensive report will be available.”
So Cr Chea requested that this report come to the 27 February meeting for debate and a decision on whether to continue with the meters.
The council endorsed the meters in April last year and Cr Chea unsuccessfully mounted several attempts to reverse the decision.
Cr Roz Blades told the meeting that the meters would drive shoppers out of ‘Sensational Springvale’.
“Twelve months later, you will be able to walk up the street and there will be no-one there because you’ve destroyed it,” she said.
In justifying the meters last year, the council said they would help decongest street parking which can be up to 97 per cent full on Friday and Saturday peak times.
An expected $1 million annual revenue would be wholly invested in central Springvale.
Springvale Asian Business Association (SABA) opposed the move, sending out 2000 pamphlets to traders stating its “firm opposition” and urging them to voice their opposition against the “revenue raising measure”.
Spokesman Stan Chang said traders were worried that shoppers would desert them for similar retail strips in Clayton and Glen Waverley.
In February, the council reduced parking meter fees in Warwick Avenue from $1.20 an hour to $1 for three hours.
“We have listened to traders’ issues and have acted quickly to address them,” then-Mayor Heang Tak said.
“These particular car parks have been under-utilised since the parking meters were introduced, so we hope this will help rectify this situation.”