Driver’s $275 fine for common car park tactic: 'Absolute rubbish'

·News Reporter
·2-min read

A Sydney driver says he is furious after receiving a $275 fine for a widely-used car park tactic.

Benn Hart was picking up his kids in Cronulla last month when he pulled into the public car park lining Gerrale Street, one of the suburb's busiest areas.

While waiting for a vehicle to vacate a space, he pulled over to the side to wait and left the engine running.

Little to his knowledge, a council ranger photographed his vehicle and days later he received a $275 fine in the post from Revenue NSW for a double parking offence.

"I think it's a bit rude," he told Yahoo News Australia.

He said he was waiting in the spot for just a couple of minutes, adding: "I didn't even see the ranger."

Mr Hart's vehicle was photographed by a ranger as he waited for a park. Source: Supplied
Mr Hart's vehicle was photographed by a ranger as he waited for a park. Source: Supplied

Mr Hart said the car park is often busy in the evening with parents picking up their children from sports activities in the area, suggesting there is "no alternative" but to wait in the car park as vehicles come and go. 

"You can't just have kids walking around Cronulla's streets looking for another meeting point," he said.

He called on council to do more to address the parking issues in the area, saying many drivers regularly pull over at the side of the car park as they wait for a spot.

"It doesn't block the traffic and there's still plenty of room," Mr Hart stressed.

Council says no lenience for offence

But Sutherland Shire Council disagrees, stating such fines are issued when a hazardous scenario is created.

"Council Officers are authorised to issue penalty notices in accordance with Revenue NSW’s guidelines, which do not recommended leniency for motorists illegally parking alongside other parked vehicles, blocking the flow of traffic, restricting the line of sight and posing a danger to other road users," a council spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.

                      

Mr Hart's situation has since prompted a raft of other drivers, who feel they have been unfairly targeted for the same offence, express their anger.

"It's absolute rubbish!" one person claimed on social media.

However others were less sympathetic, stating the rules are clear and expressing annoyance at those who wait for spots.

According to the NSW Government's parking rules, motorists are deemed to have double parked even if the driver remains in the vehicle and the engine is still running.

"These notices are an important tool in encouraging changes in driver behaviour in the interest of public safety, and this approach is consistent with councils across the state," the Sutherland Shire Council spokesperson said.

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