$50 parking fee farcical – councillor
The Herald, March 23, 1979
DESPITE strong protests from some members, Salisbury City Council at its monthly meeting last night approved a charge of $50 a month for contract parking at the new Kingsway Parkade.
Councillor Peter Chalker called the $50 charge an “absolutely farcical fee”, and said to avoid the city council embarrassment, it should be reconsidered.
Councillor Timothy Stamps, a member of the town planning and works committee, which suggested the fee, said the charge was intended to be prohibitive.
It was intended to discourage people from renting parking space on a monthly basis, and then using it only once or twice in the month, thereby leaving unused space.
The City Engineer, Mr R. Mackenzie, said in his report to the town planning and works committee that past experience at the Jameson Parkade had shown that 20 percent of parking bays allocated to contract parkers were usually vacant.
He also reported that although the preferential parking reserved for contract parkers would guarantee them space, specific bays would not be allocated.
The total number of parking bays set aside for contract parkers would be floated on a daily-need basis.
The Kingsway Parkade is due to open in February next year, “provided nothing else falls down,” Dr Stamps said.
The city council last night fixed the charges that will come into operation when the 600-car parkade opens.
Casual parkers will pay 10c an hour or part thereof, to a maximum of 90c.
Cinema parkers will pay 20c a session and a fee of $1 will be charged for parking between midnight and 7am.
Councillor Ronald Cowan, chairman of the town planning and works committee, said the parkade, could best be used by casual shoppers who came into town for brief periods rather than to have a half-empty parkade where all the vacant bays were allocated to contract parkers.
Mr Chalker said the council become the laughing stock of the motoring community for charging $50 a month.
“A man is a fool if he pays this amount for parking, when he can’t get it half at night that price at a private parkade,” he said.
LESSONS FOR TODAY
Public institutions such as municipalities that are charged with offering vital services to members of the public are supposed to ensure that the prices that they charge for their services are not only fair but justifiable. The Harare City Council recently came under fire over the US$132 fine the local authority was charging for failing to pay parking fees on time.
When people are pushed into a corner, they engage in a defensive mode and they can also lash out in anger. Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume was last week forced to make concessions in terms of public parking regulations after an uproar from motorists over the heavy handedness of parking marshals, who were clamping all vehicles whose owners were delaying paying US$1 parking fees.
The Harare City Council should learn to address issues that are drilling holes in its finances such as corruption and desist from relying on punitive fines to raise money to boost its finances.