Council coins it on CBD meters

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New Year warning as resort parking fines leap 44 per cent.

Motorists beware – it may be New Year but the parking ticket grinch isn’t taking a break.

Queenstown’s four park­­­ing wardens will still be checking meters and free short-term parks daily to catch out people overstaying their time on resort streets.

Call it tardy motorists or over-zealous wardens – either way, Queenstown Lakes District Council is coining it with parking fines.

Over the council’s past two financial years to June 2008, the value of tickets issued jumped 44 per cent to $1.08 million.

The number of tickets issued in that time has climbed 32 per cent to 29,866.

In five months of the current financial year, QLDC parking quango Lakes Environmental has issued 10,950 tickets worth $411,548 between July 1-November 28.

Glenorchy’s Sue Veint is one of thousands who recently got stung $40 – but she claims the reason she didn’t pay her parking time is because of a council cock-up.

Veint recently parked on Ballarat Street – now a pay-and-display area – but there are still arrows and numbers in the ground for the previous individual meter system.

“Apparently, these met­­­­ers went out two years ago. I just thought this meter’s not there for that parking spot. If they hadn’t left those numbers with the arrows pointing to the meter, then I would have looked at the other meters,” Veint says.

She appealed the ticket but was told she must pay.

“I park everywhere else over town and I always pay because I don’t want a ticket. I just think it’s false advertising – [the arrows and numbers] shouldn’t still be in the ground.”

LE boss Hamish Dobbie stands by his wardens – he says they carry out their job “responsibly” and try to see if car owners are nearby before they issue parking tickets. He doesn’t think the average monthly number of tickets issued – about 2500 – is excessive.

“You’ve got four parking wardens in Queenstown, we’re talking 20 [tickets] per parking warden per day. I don’t think they’re huge numbers at all.”

Dobbie’s holiday mes­­­­sage to drivers around Queenstown is simple.

“We’d like to see people continue to park sensibly over the holiday period and our guys will be out there ensuring people are parking sensibly.”

Even QLDC workmen ticketed

A Queenstown Lakes District Council waterworks contractor is gobsmacked at getting two parking tickets on the job.

Just Dig It’s John “Blowy Walsh says before working on Queenstown’s Shotover Street recently, he put out flyers advising businesses of a water shutdown – including a flyer to QLDC parking quango Lakes Environ­mental.
Walsh was ropeable when a warden slapped $45 tickets on two of his vehicles. “I said if you looked on your desk at LE you’d see this notice ‘Water Shutdown’ – that’s where I was working.”

He says the warden claimed she couldn’t see anybody. “I said that’s because we’re in the hole.”

Walsh says LE refused his request to waive the fines – a stand backed by LE boss Hamish Dobbie.

“Anybody, whether it’s a council employee or a council contractor, can’t just park where they like when they like – they need to get a parking exemption if they want a dispensation from the parking rules. Otherwise, you’ll have contractors taking up all the parks.”

It’s been a tough few weeks for Walsh – a fortnight ago Mountain Scene revealed his business had suffered a $192,000 debt for work on a failed development.