NEWS DESK Help with unpaid fines
Costly to park, shop where there’s a view Stephen Taylor email@example.com COPPING an $85 fine for parking in a space reserved for boat trailers has a Safety Beach resident seeing red. The trailers-only carpark at Safety Beach boat ramp is more often than not empty during the week if the bay is rough and no boats are out, whereas parking spaces outside the shops opposite are often full. The nearest side street has limited parking. Warren Renton said he had been a resident for about 10 years but, until last Friday, was “not aware that this area at the Safety Beach boat ramp is off limits for all vehicles not towing a trailer”. “The area outside Chemist Warehouse was really congested, so we decided to park for a few minutes at the northern end of the carpark across the road while we collected our script,” he said. “We came back to find we had been hit with an $85 fine. The parking inspector was near our car and, when we questioned her about the ticket, stated that there was a no-parking sign at the entrance.”
Off limits: Six cars without trailers next to empty bays at the Safety Beach boat ramp parking area about 3pm on a recent afternoon. Their owners could face fines if parking inspectors decide to pay a visit. Pictures: Supplied
Mr Renton said he was told that the sign clearly stated that the whole area was designated for vehicles with trailers.
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He said just one no-parking sign served the whole area. “I checked the other signs in the car park and there is no mention of fines being issued within the car parking area,” he said. “This is totally inadequate considering that the shire is conducting random raids to catch unsuspecting motorists parked there. “As far as I am concerned it [the sign] doesn’t clearly state anything.” Mr Renton said he understood space needed to be made available for vehicles with trailers at weekends and peak boating times. “Surely this can be done with more appropriate signage, and, hopefully, help unsuspecting motorists avoid being booked,” he said. “Perhaps half a dozen spaces at the end can be allocated to drivers using the shops as it seems a waste of space reserving them for trailers when none are there.” Another local said the area was more popular than the shire possibly had envisaged when planning car parking. “There is parking outside the shops, but it’s usually full. In summer, the whole area can be a nightmare for parking.”
VULNERABLE members of the community are “working off” unpaid fines rather than spiralling into depression at the mere thought of having to pay them, under a new Fines Victoria scheme. Peninsula Community Legal Centre – whose clients owe an average $12,000 in unpaid fines – provides free legal assistance to vulnerable people. It has branches at Rosebud, Frankston, and Pines. CEO Jackie Galloway said unpaid fines were “becoming an increasing problem in the community” and called for more health practitioners and organisations to take a sponsorship role. “Becoming a sponsor is important given the devastating psychological and financial toll COVID-19 is having on people’s lives and the substantial financial and emotional costs associated with receiving fines,” she said. “For most, unpaid fines are an inconvenience, but for those eligible for this scheme their impact is devastating.” The scheme’s project worker Laura Sanderson said: “Clients can stop opening their letters as their debt escalates and their mental health and addiction issues can spiral downwards. “We’ve seen clients work off their fines by engaging in activities ranging from getting mental health treatment, studying for the first time at a community college, volunteering at their church and getting support for drug and alcohol problems. Participation in the scheme is often life-changing for them.” To be accredited by Fines Victoria, sponsors must apply for a permit on behalf of a client and then report his or her participation. This can be done using the Fines Victoria WDP portal. Ms Galloway said the scheme was a “more financially viable option than pouring government resources into failed attempts to collect debt from people with no assets or financial stability”. Potential sponsors can contact Laura Sanderson at firstname.lastname@example.org Stephen Taylor
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Shire’s Mobile Library?
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Southern Peninsula News 27 May 2020
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