By Brendan Rees
Confused drivers are being stung with parking fines at the front of two hospitals along Kangan Drive in Berwick, with some describing it as “disgusting.”
Visitors and patients of St John of God Hospital and Casey Hospital are finding themselves with an unexpected $161 ticket on their windscreens after Casey Council introduced new parking restrictions last July.Lynbrook resident Michael Drew said he was slapped with a fine within three minutes of parking on the 13 December last year as he was about to visit a specialist at St John of God Hospital.
“It was pouring rain. They’ve (parking officers) actually got out of their car and done that in the rain.”
He says council are “making money out of vulnerable people” from the parking ban, which affects about 40 parking spaces.
“All it does is emphasize that it’s just wrong. You can’t be making money like this.”
The signs on Kangan Drive, which were installed on Friday 13 July 2018, show ‘no stopping’ restrictions from 7.30am – 9.30am and 2.30pm – 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. During other hours of the day, parking is restricted to two hours.
Since his fine, Mr Drew has been out at Kangan Drive most mornings while the ban was in place to warn other motorists. He says he’s “saved” more than 60 people from a potential parking fine.
This included four pregnant women and a disabled man on Friday 11 January. However, he said up to 27 people were being booked on any given day.“They’re all parked here because everyone else is… it’s 100 per cent deceiving.”
According to Mr Drew, he says council must change the signs to a clearway: “If they’re nabbing people every day clearly it’s not working.”
“They’re paying 100 bucks to see a specialist and coming back here and paying $161 for the privilege of doing it.”
“The council will say it’s really bad in the school hours which it is but you don’t nail people 10 grand a week,” he said.
The new parking signs and the VMS board was displayed for a week after the new signs were installed with the message reading “changed parking conditions now in effect”.
Casey’s city design and construction manager Trevor Griffin said in response to community concerns Council introduced the new parking restrictions along Kangan Drive to improve traffic flow for vehicles approaching the Clyde Road intersection.
“Following the installation of the new parking signs, several visual aids were installed to help drivers identify the changed conditions including VMS boards and corflute signage,” he said.
“Commuters using the precinct have been experiencing congestion and travel delays due to the proximity of the hospitals, with a high volume of traffic choosing to park along Kangan Drive to avoid paying for parking within the hospitals.”
Marie, who asked not publish not publish her surname, said it wasn’t fair: “When people are here for medical treatment obviously they’re sick, and to be making money off sick people is disgusting.”
Another motorist, Kuna Pnosamy, who was slapped with a parking fine on Friday 11 January, said “it’s pretty confusing.”
“I would rather pay $15 parking instead of $161 fine,” he said.
Kevin Jong, who had to take his wife for an ultrasound appointment admitted the signs were “very deceiving.”
Dave Chapman, who also had a doctor’s appointment said he had “look at the bloody time” to understand the signs. “You should be able to park somewhere here on the street.”
“It’s ridiculous,” motorist Eric Vesel said, as he pulled up to make a phone call on Friday 11 January. “It shouldn’t be about money making, it should be about what’s fair.”
Elderly man Bob Cummings described the parking situation as “bloody awful.”
“I’m only a pensioner, and I had an operation on my back…flabbergasted to be honest,” he said.