By Casey Neill
A compromise is on the cards for Springvale’s divisive parking meters.
Councillor Sean O’Reilly will move to make 30-minute spaces free of charge and reduce fees for other spaces from $1.20 per hour to 50 cents at the Tuesday 14 March Greater Dandenong Council meeting.
But Springvale Asian Business Association (SABA) is encouraging parking meter opponents to flood the meeting and continue to push for meters to be scrapped.
Traders said the meters were driving business out of Springvale and into shopping precincts with free parking.
“If you want to see the Springvale parking meters removed, we need you to come to show your support!” a poster said.
A council officers’ report to the 27 February meeting recommended keeping the meters and cited figures that showed increased economic output and improved parking space occupation and turnover.
But Cr Youhorn Chea successfully moved, seven votes to four, to unconditionally abolish the pay and display parking fee system following complaints from residents and businesses since they were installed in November 2015.
Following that, Cr O’Reilly filed a motion to rescind the decision, so councillors will again debate the issue on 14 March and he will put forward his compromise.
“It’s quite borderline from my discussions,” Cr O’Reilly said about support for his motion.
“The new proposal is a fairly dramatic change to how parking operates in Springvale.
“It includes much more increased engagement between the council and traders as far as how the money will be spent.
“This is an opportunity for both sides of the argument to not get everything they want, but to get most of what they want so both sides can live with it.
“If parking meters came out you could lose a lot of people who’ve said they just don’t want the chaos and congestion to come back.”
Cr O’Reilly said Springvale was an extremely price-sensitive area.
“It’s one of the few places in Melbourne you can still get a coffee for $2.50, you can get a main meal for $8, and a haircut for $9,” he said.
“But can anyone complain about 50 cents per hour?”