Cut parking fines: Business operator calls for changes to help shoppers

An Orange shopkeeper has called for an overhaul of parking fees to stop them discouraging business.

Butcher Stephen Tamplin, who runs Premier Tablelands Meats in the Summer Centre, has called for the introduction of pay and display parking ticket machines in major car parks.

The machines currently operate in the Orange City Council’s Ophir car park.

Mr Tamplin said the current system where shoppers faced being fined if they stayed beyond two hours was unfair.

However, the Summer Centre management said the current system was working well and increasing time limits would lead to congestion.

And council said it had no plans to extend the machines beyond the Ophir car park.

Mr Tamplin said shoppers should be given the option to pay for an extra hour rather being hit with a parking fine.

“I’d back anything that makes it possible to have a de-stressed shopping time. Two hours is not a lot of time,” he said.

Mr Tamplin said people from out-of-town were being discouraged to shop in Orange because they feared being fined when they needed more than two hours to shop.

“People can then choose. They can say “I can buy that time.

“At the moment, they are saying, “I can’t stay because I’m on a time limit.”

Mr Tamplin said a fee of $2-$4 for the extra hour would be appropriate.

The owner of the Summer Centre management company, RSCS Australia, Bill Kanellopoulos, said the current system benefited traders and shoppers.

“Our position is to make sure there is ample and adequate parking at all times,” he said.

“We’ve looked at alternate parking arrangements but the assessment would only deliver a congested car park.”

He said council’s parking inspectors had stopped the previous problem where 65-70 per cent of the park was taken up by all-day parkers.

Council spokesman Nick Redmond said the time limits, or whether the parking was free or paid, was essentially up to the individual car park operators.

“The Summer Centre car park, along with the Orange Central/Kmart and Orange City Centre car parks are all owned privately,” he said.

“The individual operators of those car parks have entered into contracts with council to carry out patrols so as to ensure drivers respect the time limits and share the available spaces. 

“The carpark operators pay for that service.

“The operators at any time have the ability to request a variation to the agreements with council. Any changes to the agreements would be subject to council approval.”