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Boat Owners All At Sea Over New Parking Proposal

By Ben Graham on September 6, 2013 in News

Photo: James Cook

Photo: James Cook

People parking their boat trailers in the Eastern Suburbs could soon be restricted to a three-day limit as part of a statewide initiative to free up congested streets along the coast.

Randwick City Council made a submission to Transport NSW last month recommending that councils be given new legislative powers to control the parking of boat trailers.

Councils currently have no legislative power whatsoever to move trailers.

The plans mean that the council would have the authority to issue a warning notice giving the boat trailer owner seven days to remove the vehicle from a suburb.

The owner must then keep their trailer out of that suburb for at least 28 days or they will face a fine.

Randwick Mayor Tony Bowen said Randwick Council would put the idea to the state government to consider as part of its NSW Boat Trailer Working Group Discussion Paper.

“Boat trailer parking can be a problematic issue in dense, built-up coastal areas in NSW,” Mayor Bowen said.

“The main issue seems to be the perception that some boats can be parked for years on end without ever moving – reducing parking for residents and visitors.

“Our proposal provides a sensible balance giving councils the power to manage the impact in their area by opting in suburbs which are negatively affected.

“It also strikes a compromise by still permitting boat trailer owners to park temporarily, but would eliminate long-term boat parking in some areas,” Mayor Bowen added.

But the president of the Boat Owners’ Association of New South Wales, Jeff Richards, said the council had made a knee-jerk reaction to an issue that needed a lot of consideration.

“Studies in the area have shown that, to the council’s surprise, the majority of boat trailers parked in the area belong to local residents, not people who live miles away,” Mr Richards explained.

Among other ideas, Mr Richards has suggested special trailer parking areas, which are secure and close to the water, to Randwick Council.

“This just needs a bit of lateral thinking and research,” he said.

“For example, they should look at what they’re doing overseas to tackle this problem instead of just making rushed decisions.”

President of Bronte Surf Lifesaving Club, Basil Scaffidi, hopes that surf clubs will be exempt from the proposals.

“We are a volunteer organisation and it’s illogical to expect volunteers who work extremely hard to provide a free service to the community to move their trailers every three days,” Mr Scaffidi said.

“Hopefully common sense will prevail and there will be exemptions to surf clubs up and down the coast.”

Mr Scaffidi believes that the surf clubs should be consulted before any major changes are implemented.

“It’s a nonsense that we’d have to negotiate over space for our trailers because, in the end, it’s going to cost a lot of money,” Mr Scaffidi argued. “We need to be seen differently to people who own private boats.”

Randwick Council hopes that the proposal will encourage boat owners to seek alternative off-street parking options (such as a fishing club) or park in an area less affected by parking pressures.

Brendan Roberts, Liberal Councillor for Randwick City Council East Ward, said his area is notoriously bad for parking.

“What’s critical about the way this is implemented is that we only target parking-stressed areas because we need to give boat owners somewhere to park,” Cr Roberts said.

“We’ve got nothing against boat owners, but we all need to use the streets so we’ve got make sure this works for everyone.”

“There are heaps of other areas available, we just need encourage people to use them.”