Mum clipped for time
“I'LL never be able to use the services here again,” said distraught Murwillumbah mum Irene Burke after copping an $84 parking fine while having her hair done upstairs from the Sunnyside Mall shopping centre car park.
“I've decided I will have to shop up at Tweed now,” she said. “You can go under Tweed City and park all day there.”
After months of saving for a special hair-do, Ms Burke had been happy at the trouble and the time her hairdresser in the busy Murwillumbah shopping centre had taken with her hair.
But grabbing a few extra parcels of shopping in the nearby Coles supermarket soon torpedoed the high she had been feeling after having her hair done when she found a parking ticket on her car.
Tweed Shire Council rangers patrol the two hour limit in the centre's car park as a free service to the shopping centre's owners, the Macquarie Countrywide Trust, which is part of the huge Macquarie banking and investment group. The Council gets to keep the fines as revenue.
The shopping centre management says the restriction is needed to stop workers in the CBD parking under cover in the shopping centre, but points out unrestricted parking is provided in an outdoors area to the east of the building.
Despite being aware of the two-hour limit, Ms Burke said time simply slipped away inside the centre.
“I've come back to an $84 fine just trying to use the services there,” she said. “When I'm using the shopping centre facilities I should be able to park there. I've never been fined for parking before.
“A shopping centre that has that many shops should provide enough parking. I saved up to get my hair done. I'm on a disability pension and it's a lot of money to me.
“Now I have to pay out $84. It's a week's food. I'm just so upset. It's not like I parked and walked around.”
Sunnyside Mall centre manager Josh Brown said the parking restrictions “correspond to the rest of the CBD” and only applied to the area under the building.
He said Ms Burke was well aware of the two-hour limit.
“I've known Irene for at least two-and-a-half years,” Mr Brown said.
“She inquired about a shop here with her husband in 2006.
“One of her reasons for not going ahead with the shop was the uncertainty of the parking restrictions.”
Mr Brown said he also believed Ms Burke had parked “for three hours”.
He said the centre had not pursued any other parking system, after surveying more than a thousand customers “who said they stayed for less than an hour”.
The council's Regulatory Services Co-ordinator Paul Brouwer said Council officers, at the shopping centre's request, “enforce the parking requirements on their land”.
He added there was “no charge associated with this service”.
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