A SIX-month paid parking trial will be extended across all Mornington Peninsula foreshore areas if it is considered “successful”.
Mornington Peninsula Shire Council has allocated more than $1 million over two annual budgets for the trial to be run in three popular tourist spots.
Despite paid parking being the norm across all other bayside councils, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council is being criticised over its plans to charge $6.20 an hour for timed parking at three locations next summer.
The plan has been slammed by people who live, work and holiday in the shire, with claims it will cripple businesses and be costly to residents. Others say it will encourage visitors to park in side streets.
Peninsula residents will be able to apply for up to five foreshore parking permits per household, and all drivers can still be fined if they exceed the time limits.
Renters and property owners can apply for e-permits, unlike renters of short-term accommodation (Airbnb) or owners who rent out their property long-term.
The rules for businesses and staff are still to be decided and may be varied during the six-month trial.
The council says it introduced a paid parking trial for visitors to help cover the cost of maintaining foreshore infrastructure in high traffic areas.
Using a camera-based paperless system, the trial will test technology and parking controls at Schnapper Point, Mornington, Sunnyside North Beach, Mount Eliza, and Flinders pier.
A report by the shire’s major project coordination team leader, Marcus Harris, said council had been “exploring all available options” to better manage public parking around foreshore areas. Currently the burden of managing these areas falls to ratepayers rather than the eight million visitors that flocked to the peninsula every summer.
A “successful” review of the trial could see it expanded to other foreshore areas on the peninsula.
It costs about $8 million a year to maintain foreshore-related council infrastructure, such as car parks, paths, toilets, playgrounds, barbeques and furniture.
The mayor Cr Steve Holland said the paid parking trial would allow the council to “explore opportunities to lessen the financial burden on our ratepayers and allow us to raise much needed funds to invest into maintaining our coastline”.
“We understand the decision to go ahead with the pilot is generating many questions,” Holland said.
“There is still a lot of work to be done to plan and finalise the pilot and appreciate everyone’s patience while we work with key stakeholders and the wider community over the next few months to shape the finer details of the pilot.
“I encourage people to continue to share their feedback through our online Shape Page survey. A mid-point review will allow improvements where possible as the pilot moves forward.
“By this time next year, we will have comprehensive data and feedback collected from the pilot to help determine what is best for our community in the longer term.”
Comment on the scheme at mornpen.vic.gov.au/paidparkingpilot
First published in the Mornington News – 6th June 2023