A VOLUNTEER environmental group concerned about illegal parking at Mornington’s beach car parks is lobbying Mornington Peninsula Shire Council for more patrols and better enforcement.
Mornington Environment Association has asked councillors for “immediate action” to counter environmental and safety issues around the demand for beachside car parking around the shire over summer.
The shire has hired extra staff to enforce parking controls across the peninsula, with daily patrols of up to six officers during busy periods, hot days and weekends.
Between 1 January and 28 February more than 5000 parking infringements were issued, with most vehicles being booked near beaches.
MEA spokesperson and president Margaret Howden said its members believed the demand for parking spaces close to the beach exceeded supply and residents were faced with the issue of “a growing number of selfish and self-entitled drivers who will park wherever they like once the legal parking spots have been taken”.
Ms Howden said Mills Beach was particularly congested over summer, with the ramps becoming “an accident waiting to happen” and drivers parking “unchallenged” in disabled spots and driving over grassed areas.
“Apart from destroying important native vegetation, some of it planted by MEA volunteer groups, this is a totally unacceptable fire risk and must be addressed urgently,” she said.
In many spots along the Esplanade the MEA says day visitors ignore no standing signs and residents are inconvenienced by “thoughtless” people parking across driveways.
The group is calling for more parking officers to patrol to check parking “hot spots” during the late afternoon on hot weekdays and throughout summer as well as “longer-term solutions” such as barriers to protect native vegetation, and 10-minute drop-off and pick-up parking spots adjacent to the Mills Beach ramp.
Community safety and compliance manager Shannon Maynard said the shire was working on strategies to reduce illegal parking over summer.
“We are currently trialling new smart parking technology in the form of parking sensors, vehicle-mounted cameras and fixed cameras to help monitor illegal parking,” Ms Maynard said.
“This technology will also help us better understand parking trends throughout the shire.
“Any future changes or increases in patrol frequency will be determined based on the information we receive from the smart parking trial”.