$50,000 trial of shire's first resident parking permit scheme discontinued

Parking is hard to find in the Nerang Road area at North Cronulla.
Parking is hard to find in the Nerang Road area at North Cronulla.

A two-year trial of Sutherland Shire’s first resident parking permit scheme, which cost more than $50,000, has been discontinued after minimal success.

Only six per cent of residents said the scheme, which operated in the Nerang Road area of North Cronulla, was beneficial to them.

The trial area at North Cronulla. Picture: Sutherland Shire Council

The trial area at North Cronulla. Picture: Sutherland Shire Council

Sutherland Shire Council considered trials in four areas, but the others – at Cronulla, Caringbah and Bangor – didn’t get off the ground.

The trial in the Nerang Road area was designed to assist unit dwellers who have to compete for parking with visitors to the beach and CBD attractions.

It operated on weekends only, and permits allowed eligible residents to park beyond the general four-hour limit.

The scheme started in July, 2015, and permits had an expiration date of June 30, 2017

A council evaluation report said 294 households within the trial area were asked to complete a survey at the end of the trial period. 

The report said 82 per cent of residents within the trial area did not return the survey.

Only six per cent had found the scheme had provided a significant benefit to local parking.

“The cost to council of developing, implementing and administering the trial scheme was $51,368,” the report said.

The report said it was common with resident parking schemes for parking problems to be exacerbated in adjoining areas.

This led to councils having to “regularly review and expand schemes at considerable expense and creating angst in the community”.

Parking is hard to find in the Nerang Road area at North Cronulla.

Parking is hard to find in the Nerang Road area at North Cronulla.

“This has already been evidenced in that the trial scheme was expanded in size following complaints from disadvantaged residents in Elouera Road,” the report said.

The report concluded resident parking permit schemes worked well in areas of medium to low density dwellings, where the greater majority of residences did not have any off-street parking and sufficient on-street parking existed, such as with older inner-city townhouses.

“This is not the case in Cronulla, with the majority of high density apartments having off-street parking in addition to on-street parking availability,” the report said.

“In view of the above trial results, it is difficult to justify the use of council funds and resources, or to charge resident permit holders for cost recovery, to continue with the Nerang Road scheme.”

The other areas considered for a resident parking permit scheme were between Dunningham Park and Cronulla Park, Cronulla, the vicinity of Sutherland Hospital and around Inaburra School, Bangor.

A council spokeswoman said Roads and Maritime Services requirements would have meant most residents living around Sutherland Hospital wouldn’t have qualified for a scheme.

“Additionally, major works were due to be carried out at Sutherland Hospital and Kareena Hospital, which would have significant effects on parking patterns in surrounding streets,” she said.

“At the Inaburra School area, the overwhelming majority of written responses from residents, 91 per cent, did not support the proposed resident parking scheme.”