Beach parking fees spark fury

Supplied Editorial
Flinders Pier visitors will now have to pay more than $6 an hour to park in the area. Picture: Supplied

Families are up in arms following a local council’s decision to trial paid parking at popular beach areas across the summer at more than six dollars an hour.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council is charging parkers $6.20 an hour with a $19.50 daily cap at popular beach areas including Flinders Pier, Sunnyside Beach and Schnapper Point.

Supplied Editorial
Flinders Pier is one of the areas visitors will now have to pay for parking. Picture: Supplied

Even residents who live in the area will be impacted, though they can get a permit to park for free, they are still required to abide by new time limits put in place meaning they will have to come out and move their cars.

People in the area weren’t impressed when they were quizzed about the parking changes by Channel 7.

“It’s a beach. Why should we have to pay for it?” one visitor said.

Another said: “We won’t stay here. We’ll travel further where we don’t have to pay.”

Local business owners are also worried about the impact the paid parking will have on their bottom line with hairdresser Kellie Noonan telling Channel 7 she was concerned about losing customers.

“The paid parking is really going to affect our business,” she said.

“A lot of our clients may decide not to come to us.”

Melbourne Naturalists
Carpark at Sunnyside North Beach will now cost more than $6 and hour. Picture NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council mayor Simon Brooks said the new fees were to offset the money spent to maintain the area.

“It was in response to a few challenges. Like growing visitor numbers, as we have 7.5 million visitors come down here every year,” he said.

“It costs us about $8 million a year to maintain our foreshore areas.”

It has cost the council $165,000 to install new cameras that will monitor the areas and crack down on people who avoid payment or stay in one spot for too long.

The trial is planned to run for 9 months, however, it could be extended.

Other popular Melbourne beach areas do already have parking fees in place with both St Kilda and Sandringham Beach charging an even loftier $6.37 an hour.