Ballarat council's parking fee hike catches drivers by surprise

THE City of Ballarat has increased parking fees by 15 per cent and this week sent social media messages alerting residents to the change which came into effect on July 1. 

Hourly rates in the city are $1.60, up from $1.40, while those parking their car all day will be slugged $5.50 – a rise of 50 cents a day. 

The Courier spoke to a cross-section of people on Thursday, with all of them unaware of the fee increase. 

“Why has it gone up? What do they do with the money apart from take more parks out of the middle of the road (Armstrong Street) than they used to have,” mum Tamara Rowland said. 

“I didn’t see it in the My Ballarat (bi-monthly council magazine); they could have at least put some flyers out.”

Daniel Bruty, who works in the CBD, said the City of Ballarat’s decision to reduce car parks in Armstrong Street and then charge more for parking was “extremely frustrating”. 

“Charging more for fewer parks doesn’t seem to be the way to go. It gets quite expensive, especially if you have to park there all day,” he said.

Mardy Adriaans, of Ballarat East, said parking was “really expensive”. 

“It doesn’t help the businesses in the CBD at all because they rely on people to come in and spend some money,” he said. 

Another person, who did not wish to be named, has had a gripe with inner-city parking for a number of years. 

“I find parking in town really annoying anyway. There’s basically no free parking at all until about 5.30pm,” said the woman, who added she “didn’t really appreciate the change”. 

The City of Ballarat sent out Facebook and Twitter messages on July 24 informing residents of the change. The fee increase formed part of the City of Ballarat’s 2014-15 budget which was passed by the council last month.

City of Ballarat general manager city infrastructure Eric Braslis said the increase in fees covered the delivery of car parking services and allowed the city to invest in projects like the construction of the Ballarat Base Hospital car park. 

Last year, all car parking and associated revenue was $4.92 million, which included parking-meter revenue, parking fines and other parking fees, according to Mr Braslis.

william.vallely@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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