The West

Labor rules out beach parking fee

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan says he would ban local governments charging for parking at beaches if Labor is elected in March.

The City of Stirling said this week it would consider paid parking at Scarborough beach if the State Government refused to help finance a $60 million beachfront redevelopment.

Stirling mayor David Boothman said parking fees might have to be used to fund essential maintenance and infrastructure at the beach.

But Mr McGowan said councils would not have that option under a Labor government.

"There are some issues where the State should be able to override local governments and obviously paid parking at a beach that everyone, not just the residents of the local council, enjoys is one of those issues," he said.

There is no law to stop councils introducing paid parking at beaches, except at Cottesloe. In 1997, Cottesloe council voted to introduce paid beach parking but local government minister Paul Omodei overruled it.

WA Local Government Association president Troy Pickard said councils should be able to charge for beach parking. Any government that made it illegal would be expected to provide "adequate and secure funding" to maintain coastal infrastructure.

Mr McGowan and Premier Colin Barnett have both pledged support for the Scarborough revamp but neither has made a financial commitment.

Mr Barnett once again gave his "in-principle" support yesterday.

"The State Government is prepared, in principle, to help," he said.

"We're yet to determine how much money, the scale and the size of the development and what conditions would apply."

An online poll for _The West Australian _yesterday found 81 per cent of people did not believe they should have to pay to park at the beach.

But many families at Scarborough this week said they were willing to pay for parking if the money was used to improve the beachfront.

Father-of-two Wayne Duncan, of Canning Vale, said he would be happy to pay a reasonable fee. It was "fair enough" if everyone who used the beach helped pay for its upkeep.

The West Australian

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