ORANGE councillors have again ramped up efforts to fight the three-hour daily parking limit at the Orange Central shopping centre.
Previously council was contracted by the centre’s management to enforce a two-hour parking limit, but last February the centre management announced it would hand over control to private contractor Traffic Monitoring Services (TMS) and restrict shoppers to a maximum of three-hours parking per day.
At the time councillor Chris Gryllis said the centre had taken a “cowboy attitude” and was breaking a covenant the developers of the centre signed with the council when they purchased the car park for a nominal amount in 1996.
Under the terms of the agreement, shoppers were entitled to park for at least two hours at any time free of charge in the 227 car spaces.
But the changed system, started on March 1 last year, means shoppers’ parking times are added up during the day, even if they leave and re-enter the car park.
Cr Gryllis questioned why council staff were yet to deliver a promised report into the state of affairs between council and the centre’s management at Tuesday’s meeting.
“Is someone ducking for cover?” he said.
“I’ve been approached by a number of people on this issue. It should come out into the public forum.”
Cr Gryllis said the centre’s parking remained a controversial issue and the public deserved to know if the car park was now out of council’s control and “lost forever”.
Development services director David Waddell said council was in correspondence with legal representatives and apologised for the delay in delivering the report.
Deputy mayor Jeff Whitton said he received complaints from the public about the car park on a weekly basis.
“A lot of people have made approaches to different councillors saying they’ve been fined when they haven’t been there for three hours,” he said.
“That’s not a council issue ... but we need to clarify it 110 per cent that what is being facilitated is legal.”
A Charter Hall spokesperson said the three-hour parking limit was implemented to increase the availability of parking spaces for customers.
“This system has been successful in achieving this objective ... providing our retailers’ customers with convenient and accessible parking free of charge,” she said.
“The costs associated with running this car parking system are also lower than the previous system and these cost savings are being passed onto our retailers through their outgoings in their rent.”
The spokeswoman would not say how many fines had been issued since the system started. Council spokesman Nick Redmond said a report to council next month would detail the council’s options.