Newcastle parking: city council’s proposed new parking fee structure criticised as a cash grab

HIT IN THE HIP POCKET: Abe Westley says a proposed increase on parking fees in the city is a ‘blatant cash grab’. Picture: Max Mason-HubersNEWCASTLE motorists will collectively be slugged thousands of dollars more per year to park their cars in the city under a new fee hike being described as “hidden” and “unfair”.
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The council is proposing to jack up the cost of many of its parking services in the CBD with a plan thatwould affect on-street and off-street parking spaces, resident parking permits and spectators who bring their cars to major events such as the New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Under the proposal, TheMall’s multi-level parking station would see hourly parking fees nearly double.

Parking meters in the city centre, Newcastle East, The Hill and the Cottage Creek area would see all-day parking fees rise to $10 – an increase of $1 per day.

And, for the first time, Newcastle could see a $25 flat fee imposed on “special event” parking –a move that will add thousands to council coffers.

Two-hour and four-hour parking meters are exempt from fee increases.

Councillors – many of whom are up for re-election later this year– stressed that the new parking fee structure was devised by staff.

However, a spokeswoman for staffdid not explain or defend the proposed increases in detail on Thursday, and was unable to answerNewcastle Heraldquestions prior to deadline that asked how much was expected to be raised from the fee hike, including what council’s definition of a “special event” was.

Cr Declan Clausen (Labor) feared residents might overlook the planned parking fee increases, describing it as buried in a 150-page document that outlined all councilcharges for the new financial year.

“It has been hidden,” he told a council meeting this week.“We will come under significant scrutiny for this. We need to make sure it’sproperly advertised.”

Abe Westley, on council’s proposed parking fee hikeWhat will go upThe mall car parkUp to one hour – $2.70 to $4

Two hours –$5.40 to $8

Three hours –$8.10 to $11

Four hours –$16.20 to $19

Early bird (vehicle enters before 9.30am) –$8.50 to $9

Weekend and public holidays –$6.50 to $7

Special event parkingPer day flat rate –$25 (new charge)

Cottage Creek (8P)Maximum per eight hours –$9 to $10 (Monday to Sunday)

Wharf Road (10P)Maximum per ten hours –$9 to $10

King Street (10P)Maximum per ten hours –$9 to $10

Newcastle EastMaximum per day –$9 to $10

The HillMaximum per day –$9 to $10

Civic car parkMaximum per day –$7 to $10

Boat Harbour car parkMaximum per day –$9 to $10

Resident parking permitsNew applicants (01/10/2016-31/12/2017) –$72.50 to $75

New applicants (01/10/2016-31/12/2017) –$77 to $82

New applicants (01/12/2016-31/12/2017) –$71.50 to $76

Pensioner rate (maximum per parking authority)–$56 to $60

Pensioner rate new applicants (01/10/2016 – 31/12/2017) –$72.50to $75

Pensioner rate new applicants (01/11/2016 – 31/12/2017) –$67 to $70

Pensioner rate new applicants (01/12/2016 – 31/12/2017) –$61.50 to $65

Resident visitor parking (maximum per parking authority) –$86 to $95

Resident visitor parking new applicants (01/10/2016 – 31/12/2017) –$107.50 to $119

Resident visitor parking new applicants (01/11/2016 – 31/12/2017) –$100 to $111

Resident visitor parking new applicants (01/12/2016 – 31/12/2017) –$93 to $103

*Source: Newcastle City Council Draft Fees and Charges 2017-18

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