SOME of the city’s poorest families were among those slapped with parking fines on the worst street to receive a ticket in Ballarat last year.
More fines were issued on Dawson Street South, between Sturt and Dana streets, than any other block in the city in 2013, according to an analysis of City of Ballarat traffic infringements by The Courier.
More than 1500 tickets were handed out on the block to drivers including clients of the St Vincent de Paul assistance centre next to St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Ballarat regional president of St Vincent de Paul, Bernie Holloway, said people who visited the centre could not always afford to put money in the meters.
“We have a lot of people who come through ... on Monday we had 42 visitors in two hours,” he said.
“We get a lot of people who come in and have to find a park out the front.
“We have put notices up saying if people don’t pay (for the meter) they will get fined. These people are unable to pay, they are struggling a lot.
“A lot come here because they don’t have any money – they don’t have money to put in the parking meter.
“If there are 42 people waiting and three people interviewing them, it does take a lot of time to get through the list.”
The number of fines issued on that block jumped by more than 600 last year. In 2012, 902 fines were given out, compared to 1542 in 2013.
The Courier understands parking officers took greater caution issuing tickets after they were made aware of the issue.
A total of 25,786 traffic infringements were issued by the City of Ballarat in 2013. The Courier obtained a list of the infringements through a Freedom of Information request.
Clients of the St Vincent de Paul assistance centre also highlighted Albert Street, near Centrelink, as a problem area for parking fines.
“At Centrelink it is ridiculous,” said one client. “They are not giving people an option to get in and get out.
“It makes it really hard ... there should be some free parking options.”