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Volume 5 Issue 21 MARCH 2008 JOURNAL OF THE ANPSG AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL GUN FOR HIRE Arthur Birch, branded by the media as “Australia’s most despised parking cop”, has PARKING STEERING come out of retirement where he had been spending his time defending drivers who had GROUP been reported for parking offences incorrectly. In fact Arthur has published a book and set up a website to cover some of the inadequacies of parking enforcement - http://www.parkingmeterman.com.au But no more “good guy”, he has been hired by a group of shire councils in country NSW, to make flying raids on the local residents who are ignoring the Australian Road Rules in major townships like Moree, Quirindi, Gunnedah and Narrabri. Inside this issue: It would appear that none of the locals wanted to take on the job Gun for Hire 1 of Parking Officer, and besides, there probably wasn’t enough From the 2 work for a full-time position in Editors Desk each shire. So, the Councils banded together and talked Bomb Crazy 3 Arthur into coming out of retirement to make the flying Dandenong 4 visits and give the locals a bit of curry, to remind them of their Rule 205 5 obligations in regard to correct Hello Possums! 6 parking. Hard Bunch 7 ‘A Current Affair’ sent a journalist to tag along with Arthur, on his recent week long jaunt around the townships, to get some feedback from the locals. The journo’ also spoke to Mike Silver of Gunnedah Council, who was at a loss to answer the journalist’s Old Before Time 8 questions about local anger to the move. (I think he should have better prepared himself before agreeing to go on camera! – Ed.) Private Fines 10 Arthur was unabashed in his enforcement of the ARR’s, but did show some leniency to Same Story 11 those who arrived back before being reported, pointing out the error of their ways. Life as a Parkie 12 In a previous article on Arthur a few weeks earlier, he pointed out a deficiency in PINs issued at the Sydney Airport, were they apparently failed to include a statutory declaration with each PIN issued – this is a fatal flaw for these reports under the legislation. He claimed to have personally had $2000 in fines waived due to this basic ALL oversight by the issuing authority. SUBMISSIONS WELCOME Apparently, Arthur’s next trip is to help the City of Queanbeyan with its parking problems. Page 2 Welcome to the first edition for 2008. I hope you find the contents of interest, but I must say I am having to search hard for content. A bit more from the ranks would be much appreciated, especially some of the hundreds of stories that are out there just waiting for some of you to tell. We have another part of “Life as a Parkie”, so perhaps that will prompt some recollections of incidents you have seen, heard or been involved in - see the back page. The interpretation of Rule 205 seems to be getting more confused as time goes by, without any decisive action by national authorities to sort the mess out. The confusion is not restricted to just Councils. The NSW State Debt Recovery Office seems to be just as much at a loss as to the correct interpretation. I certainly can’t work out their reasoning, see page 5. I believe there is discussion and proposals on Rule 205 occurring in some transport departments around the country, but it could still be years before it is solved. Let’s hope it’s not that long. On page 6 you will find a find poster for a lost “cat”. I didn’t realise I had so many cats on our property until I saw the picture of this one! The funny thing is, all ours seem to be vegetarians. The UK seems to be a wealth of stories of disgruntled drivers, iffy tickets and dodgy goings-on, so here is another little article from the Daily Mail, see page 7. Some of the stories are hard to believe, but there is just so many of them, there has to be an element of truth in a lot of them. A private company in Adelaide has been issuing ‘tickets’ that look strikingly similar to those issued by the Adelaide City Council, in carparks and causing some confusion - see page 10 for details. Business owners can sometimes be their own worst enemy when it comes to customer parking - and it seems to be the same the world over. The desire to have their cars near to hand flies in the face of councils attempts to provide their customers with easy access to the shops that they are running - see page 11 for a US experience. Hopefully the next issue will be back on time, so until then, enjoy the read and keep safe! ‘SCHOOLS’ OUT Melbourne City Councils Graham McKinnon was the subject of this cartoon, drawn by former Officer Gary Clark, who was with the Council for 17 years. It would appear that the Officers got the better of Graham from time to time. Page 3 A CRAZY CREATES A CLOSE CALL A BENALLA parking inspector has narrowly escaped death after he tried to remove an explosive device that had been attached to the spare tyre of his car. The council employee discovered a suspicious device attached to the spare of his Holden Rodeo utility, which is owned by the Benalla Rural City Council. Senior Sergeant Creina O'Grady said the man found wires protruding from the car, which was parked outside the home of a friend he was visiting in Shawbrook Avenue about 2.45pm yesterday the 19th November 2007. Bomb squad Officer "It's a commercially sold explosive, as opposed to something that may have on scene been put together with home-made chemicals." “It would have been made by someone who had knowledge of explosives to some extent. It had all the components there,” he said. Suspecting the device was an explosive, the man drove his car to a nearby isolated area, police said. Benalla council employees returned to work today but Benalla Rural City Council CEO Tony McIlroy said some staff are traumatised by the incident. HERALD SUN VECTRIX UNDERGOES TESTING Following the delivery of the first Vectrix Maxis in Australia there has been a lot of interest in the all-electric urban commuter. The Vectrix are currently being tested by the Melbourne and the Adelaide City Councils, with the view of replacing or supplementing their current regulatory services vehicle fleets. Melbourne City Council Councillor Peter Clarke has even suggested offering free charging in the underground car park facility at City Square for all Vectrix users and owners. Vectrix is also talking with the City of Greater Geelong as they have shown interest in a fleet of Vectrix bikes for their senior parking inspectors. Charles Mann, Vectrix Marketing Director, says "This is great for any commuter or even for those just heading into town for the day, they get an easy park and some free fuel." At a cost of around 50c a week to charge, they may prove to be a viable alternative to current oil driven vehicles. Vectrix undergoes trials at Adelaide City Council Page 4 PMO PRESENTATION The staff at the City of Greater Dandenong have been busy putting together a presentation about the position of ‘Parking Management Officer’ for the Council. Led by Manager Regulatory Services, Peter Sheldon, they have done a great job in showing the job in a truthful, no holds barred manner that many other Councils may find very interesting. It doesn’t hide from the fact that the job has its bad points – but also highlights the positives of this very demanding position. The short slide show is available on their website at the below address. It only takes a few minutes, so have a look next time your on the web. http://jobs.greaterdandenong.com/home.asp?newsID=101079 Above: A couple of slides from the presentation by City of Greater Dandenong FEEDBACK Hello Jolyon, I was very interested in your article on the 'extendable chalk stick' in the latest edition of Making a Space (Issue 20 - Ed.). This prompted me to start looking for replacements for our current chalk sticks which are almost worn out. I have managed to find a local supplier of 'chalk holders' at www.teachers- shoponline.com or Email firstname.lastname@example.org. I have also managed to source the exact same squeegee at REPCO. It is sold under the Turtle Wax brand. You may like to pass this info on to any interested parties. Keep up the great work, Regards, Kevon Griffith Chief Parking Officer Glenorchy City Council Page 5 MOVE THE CAR, STILL GET FINED (?) Richard Macey March 6, 2008 Sydney Morning Herald IT IS a ritual performed every day by thousands of Sydney motorists. Parked in a time-limited parking zone, they dash out at lunch to move their car. Sometimes they roll a few metres and sometimes they drive around the block. However, simply shifting your car is not enough to avoid a parking fine. The State Debt Recovery Office has rejected an appeal by a Coogee woman to be excused from a $79 ticket she received when she parked in Darling Island Road, Pyrmont. The woman, a Fairfax Media employee, wrote explaining she had moved her car. At 5.30pm she had driven "around the corner" into nearby Fyfe Street, another two-hour zone. But when she emerged at 7.20pm, she found she had been booked. This week she received a reply from Gregrory Frearson, assistant director of operations at the Debt Recovery Office, advising that her appeal to have the fine waived had been rejected. "Based on the circumstances you describe we cannot, under our guidelines, cancel or offer leniency for this offence." he wrote. "While a vehicle may be moved to a different spot, if it remains within the overall parking sector the time limit does not recommence." Asked if Mr Frearson was correct, Heather Gilmore, a spokeswoman for the Treasurer, Michael Costa, said: "Yes." So motorists rushing to move their cars in their lunch breaks will have to make sure they find a new spot outside "the overall parking sector". However, where an overall parking sector starts and ends seemed a murky matter yesterday. "A parking sector," Ms Gilmore later added, "is usually an area between two [sign-posted] one-directional arrows, unless indicated otherwise. Generally a zone would not extend beyond one street, but we'd have to check with [the] council if this is the case here." The Herald asked Sydney City Council to define a parking sector, but a spokesman said he would not be able to respond before the newspaper's deadline. A spokesman for the Roads and Traffic Authority, Alec Brown, said laws forbidding a motorist to park continuously "in an area or section of road to which the sign-posted parking restriction applies" had been in force since 1999. However, the "enforcement and interpretation of parking rules is a matter for councils". Mr Brown added that unhappy "motorists can contest a parking ticket in court". In the meantime, if they are moving their cars in their meal breaks, they had better take a long lunch. Page 6 NATIVE CAT? Page 7 THEY’RE A HARD BUNCH IN THE UK Daily Mail -UK 27th March 2008 Tickets to rile ... We reveal some of the most unreasonable parking fines of all time. Most drivers vent a little steam when they get a parking ticket - and the number who appeal successfully proves they're often right to be annoyed. But a new list of the most ridiculous parking tickets ever issued shows that almost nothing will stop the determined parking warden from slapping a ticket on a vehicle. Indeed, it suggests a host of ways that officious officials can take advantage of drivers when they are at their most vulnerable. Driven to distraction: Even mitigating circumstances such as falling prey to a heart attack or bank robbers cut no ice with some wardens The pit-stop ambush Lorry driver Michael Collins was on his way to collect a skip in London's Belsize Park when the road beneath him collapsed. A burst water main had created a deep hole where the front wheels of his 17-tonne lorry were now stuck. While he was waiting for roadside assistance, a parking attendant appeared. To the astonishment of nearby residents - and despite Mr Collins' protests, she stood on tiptoe and plastered a parking ticket on his windscreen - while helpfully telling him: "You can appeal". The trunk road swoop If a tree fell on your car and you escaped death by inches, you might expect some sympathy from your local council. But there was no sign of compassion from Wychavon District Council for Nicky Clegg of Stoulton, Worcs, after when a tree crashed down on her car as she drove her 82-year-old mother and 11-year-old son. Police dragged the wrecked car - with crushed bonnet, smashed windscreen and broken wing mirrors - to the roadside and told Mrs Clegg she could leave it there and pick it up the following day. When she came back, a parking ticket was stuck on the window. The knock-down surprise Think that being badly injured is an excuse to park illegally? Think again. When Nadhim Zahawi of South London was thrown from his scooter and left lying in the road with a broken leg, a heartless warden from Lambeth Council slapped a £100 ticket on his bike. The cavalry attack You leave your horse in the street and what do you expect to find when you get back? A small pile of manure perhaps, but not a parking ticket. Yet this is exactly what happened to Robert McFarland, a retired blacksmith from Yorkshire, when he left his horse Charlie Boy for a few moments. Under the vehicle description on the ticket, the over-zealous warden had written "brown horse". The daylight robbery It was a terrifying ordeal for Fred Holt, 77, when he went to the bank and two masked men burst in brandishing an axe and a machete. The robbers held the axe to a young cashier's throat while money was handed over, and the customers were forced to lie on the floor. Later, they had to give statements to police. It seems traffic wardens had not listened when officers told them about the raid and asked them not to issue tickets. Mr Holt found a £30 parking ticket pinned to his windscreen for staying 20 minutes longer than allowed. CONT. PAGE 9 Page 8 NOT AS OLD AS HE LOOKS? ****** ***** ****** ****** This is a request for review of a parking fine I just received. It was quite amusing. Our officer has only just turned 50 so he was less than impressed. He was originally parked about halfway over a yellow line and our officer asked him to move. He did so but went further up the road and parked in another no stopping zone. Regards Bruce Kingdom Team Leader City Compliance City of Charles Sturt Page Page 7 9 CONT. FROM PAGE 7 THEY’RE A HARD BUNCH The donor kebab "Do something amazing today" runs the slogan of the National Blood Service. In Sutton, a traffic warden did just that - by ticketing a blood donor lorry. The mobile National Blood Service truck had parked at the same spot in Sutton, Surrey, for four years when the zealous parking attendant issued a ticket while donors gave blood inside. Sutton council eventually waived the fine, saying the parking attendant had made a simple error of judgment. Or to put it more aptly, a rush of blood to the head. The bus stop gambit Manchester bus driver Chris O'Mahony pulled up at a bus stop in his No 77 to let passengers on. While he was handing them their tickets, a Manchester City Council parking attendant handed him one. Passengers looked on in disbelief as the warden joined the queue to prepare the parking ticket, deposited the £40 notice and walked off. The driver, apparently, had parked in a restricted area. The attendant said he'd been told to issue tickets to buses that park there. Council bosses cancelled the ticket and the warden was sent for retraining - hopefully as something other than a warden. The heart attack attack David Holmes felt chest pains as he was driving and headed for hospital, where he was forced to park on the roadside and was treated for a heart attack. A nurse thoughtfully left a note on the windscreen explaining the emergency and saying Mr Holmes's daughter would pick the car up later. It proved futile. A parking attendant slapped a parking ticket on the car and despite an appeal to the local council the £40 fine was not cancelled. The random posting Krister Nylander was dismayed to receive a parking ticket in the post for parking in Warwick. But he knew the ticket had to be wrong - he lives in Sweden and had not visited England since he was 16. The offending vehicle was his 20-ton snowmobile, which had barely ever left his barn, let alone Sweden. How did it get the ticket? Absolutely no Ikea. Driving home the lesson A driving instructor was issued with a CCTV parking ticket when his pupil stalled while attempting a three-point turn and could not restart the car. The offence? Parking more than 50 centimetres from the kerb. Distract and destroy When driver Derek Scott stopped to ask directions, he found a parking attendant. While being given details of how to get to his destination, another warden slapped a 100 pound ticket on his car. Double hit Delivery driver Dennis Williams threw his parking ticket onto the pavement in disgust. Unfortunately, his outburst was spotted by a nearby warden on litter patrol who fined him on the spot for being a litter bug! Mr Williams was convicted at Carmarthen Magistrates Court and fined 150 pounds. Meanwhile, a builder who got fed up with receiving parking tickets outside the property he was renovating came up with a novel idea. He paid the local council for a skip licence and hired a skip with a drop-down front and parked it outside the property. Every day when he arrived for work, he let down the front, drove his van into the skip and pulled up the front! Page 10 PRIVATE FINES Adelaide City Fines - advice to consumers The Commissioner for Consumer Affairs has warned consumers that notices attached to car windscreens in private carparks should not be confused with parking fines issued by councils. The Commissioner's warning is directed particularly at the activities of Adelaide City Fines, a private company associated with the operator of Park Fast carparks. Adelaide City Fines is known to leave notices on cars in Park Fast carparks, asking for the payment of money. Although these notices may resemble parking fine notices, Adelaide City Fines are not connected in any way with the Adelaide City Council or any other council and do not have any authority to issue council parking fines or expiation notices. Adelaide City Fines is a private company and these notices are requests for payment to Park Fast or Adelaide City Fines for alleged breaches of contract, that is, the contract with the parking station. The Commissioner advises consumers that these notices do not, in themselves, legally compel consumers to pay any money. These are simply requests for payment. If you do not pay a notice, Park Fast will decide whether to sue you for the alleged breach of contract. If you are sued, it is up to the court to decide whether you should pay anything. The Office of Consumer and Business Affairs does not encourage or condone illegal parking in a car parking station. Consumers are required to pay the appropriate fee for the time the car is parked in the station. To assess whether you are in breach of your contract with the parking station, seek legal advice. The company operating as Adelaide City Fines, and Adelaide City Collections, have been issuing ‘requests for payment’ which bare a remarkable resemblance to PINS issued by the Adelaide City Council. The requests have caused considerable confusion amongst drivers receiving these notices, with hundreds attempting to pay them at the Council offices - Ed. Dennis Gazelle, Team Leader of Traffic and Local Laws at Whitehorse City Council (Vic), sent in this picture of a ‘Christmas Tree’ spotted at the rear of a shopping centre in Frankston. I figure the empty beer cartons might have had something to do with the creation of this structure. Some people have too much time on their hands! Page 11 SAME STORY - DIFFERENT LOCATION Group wants crack down on parking violators by Robert Callahan | Jackson County Chronicle - USA Parking in downtown Black River Falls would be a lot simpler if business owners did not park in front of their businesses. The Black River Falls Public Safety committee heard concerns from members of the Black River Falls Downtown Association during a meeting held Feb. 20. Darren Durman, president of the Black River Falls Downtown Association, said the group's concerns are "mainly to do with business owners and business employees." Black River Falls City Clerk Bill Arndt said Monday morning downtown parking has long been an issue in Black River Falls. "It was a problem even when we had parking meters," Arndt said. A parking ticket is $10 if paid within the first 48 hours of the violation. The cost of the ticket increases to $15 if not paid within the first 48 hours and to $25 if not paid within 28 days. "What can we do together to solve the problem," Joe Williams, owner of the Buzz and Brew, asked. "The only thing we can do is, we can go down there and write tickets," Police Chief Don Gilberg replied. Gilberg said that writing tickets can be a "double-edged sword." While the violators of the two-hour parking edict would be ticketed, so would shoppers, Gilberg said. "We have business owners call us up and tell us we are destroying downtown business," Gilberg said of times when the police department has written tickets. If shoppers were to be ticketed, the Black River Falls Downtown Association might reimburse the customer, Durman said. Committee member Brad Rahmlow asked if there have been attempts made to talk to the violators. "It's just like talking to a wall," Durman said. Some in attendance suggested raising the price of a parking ticket to as much as $25. "If the city wants to raise it to $25, they have every right to do that," Gilberg said. Gilberg said if given a list of the violators, he would speak to each of them concerning the situation. "If voluntary compliance doesn't work, enforcement is our only other option," committee chairperson Don Mathews said. Page 12 LIFE AS A PARKIE Part 4 - From WARA Rangerdaze ‘The Dobber’ had some wonderful stories to tell of a time when he was working for PRESENTED BY THE a very large Council. At one particular time the council received some complaints TEAM AT ADELAIDE CITY COUNCIL regarding an unsatisfactory parking situation in the vicinity of a popular bar. The establishment had a brick wall adjacent to the offending vehicles and patrons would sit just a little inside the wall. Unfortunately for the parkies, the fence was on a slope and varied from approximately waist high down to about a foot in height so the parkies would crawl along on their knees to avoid being seen. Of course, at one point they would have to pop up and attach their notices to the vehicles then high tail it out of the area as all hell would break loose. Phone: 08 8203 7509 One day he and a load of other parkies were working near a well known jetty. It Fax: 08 8203 7387 was an extremely busy day and after a brief discussion they came to the Email: j.porter@adelaidecity conclusion that none of them was in the mood for the usual confrontations from council.com irate motorists. Discretion had to be adopted here and the decision was that they would hide until they, all the vehicle occupants, were on the boat. When all the motorists and passengers were aboard the boat and it was sailing out the parkies would appear from nowhere and wave the passengers off with infringement notices. I love to hear these stories. The job is so interesting. One very angry motorist came back to his car one day as he was being booked for NEEDED! not displaying a parking ticket. He took a risk and hadn’t bothered to buy one. As he approached his vehicle he spoke to the inspector telling him not to bother as he was “leaving now”. No it doesn’t work that way. He became very abusive and was informed that the infringement would be posted to him. He jumped into his car and drove away like a maniac. What he did next was to purchase a ticket from another area and then immediately drive off. He was planning his appeal just in case!! All contributions gratefully It was unfortunate for me (and him) that I was the next inspector he came accepted. across. I think he had been looking for me !! Of course, being a woman, I think he thought I would be an easy target for his anger and frustration of the situation. Long, short, or tall, it doesn’t matter. He squealed to a halt, interrupted my conversation with another motorist and Photos are great! verbally abused me. Oh yes, this man was a total nutter. After telling him not to interrupt me, I eventually stood and listened to him rant and rave telling me that Come on put pen to pa- if it wasn’t for his own medical condition he would have “bopped the inspector”. ‘I per, or fingers to the key- don’t think so’ I thought. This particular inspector was a rather large, muscular, board, and send me some- thing about your Council, young guy. This plonker wouldn’t have stood a chance. Who did he think he was? something funny, unusual, Mike Tyson? His brain is probably the only thing they have in common. or even outrageous! This man elected to go to court as there was no way he was going to admit that he had been in the wrong. This turned out to be a very interesting court hearing. He had stopped another parkie one day and told him he was taking “one of you lot” to court and he was going to win. Did he win? I bet you are asking yourself. Well in short – no. For the sake of paying a few cents for his parking he was found guilty JOURNAL OF THE and ordered to pay the amount of $595. His comment to this was that if he had he known the solicitor’s cost was to be so great he would not have elected to go to ANPSG AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL court. Now, that I would interpret as being an admission to guilt. PARKING STEERING GROUP Watch for further installments in coming issues - and why not visit www.warangers.asn.au? Hint: try clicking on the spinning ‘Western Australia’.
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