WHAT would it do to the enjoyment of your Sunday if you got a $159 parking ticket shoved under your windscreen wiper?
Sunday? It would probably ruin your whole week.
Well that was the greeting up to half-a-dozen people got recently when they returned to their cars after spending a happy hour or two at the Kongwak Market.
And they were ropable!
In recent times, there have been as many as 50 infringement notices issued by the South Gippsland Shire officers, according to market founder and facilitator, Jane Seaholme.
That’s serious money.
And she’s often the one who fields the flack.
“I’ve got nothing against the shire having parking restrictions where safety is an issue or where local residents don’t want people parking on their nature-strips and messing them up, making them impossible to mow,” Ms Seaholme
“We’ve never had a problem with that, although in the 15 years that we’ve been running the market, there’s never been an incident.
“In fact the traffic of a Sunday slows down while the market is open.
“On other days, you’ll see trucks and other cars speeding through the middle of the town.
“No, the point is that a lot of the people who come here are first-timers or irregular visitors and they’re not expecting to see parking restriction signs out here in a little country town.
“The Local Laws officers say there are plenty of signs but the fact is that people aren’t looking for them and don’t see them.
“We remind them whenever we can but you’re often getting the message out to different people each week and some will only stay long enough to get a coffee and have a bit of a look around.”
The market also has plenty of its own signs, warning people not to park in the wrong places.
“What I don’t get is that if it’s for safety reasons, why not just come into the market and warn people they have 10 minutes to move their cars.
“And I must stress, I don’t have a problem with doing it for safety.
“But what they are doing it placing a $159 parking ticket under the windscreen wipers and then leaving the car there for two hours or more.
“That’s not improving safety,” Ms Seaholme said.
“I think they should paint a yellow line along the area where you can’t park so that people getting out of their cars will know some conditions apply to parking in the area.
“I fee terribly sorry for the people who get the tickets, not because they’ve been hit with the fine but because it comes as a complete surprise to them that there’s even any restrictions out here.
“There’s got to be a better way.”
Cr Alyson Skinner, who is a regular at the Kongwak Market, agrees with Ms Seaholme that with goodwill, an alternative to heavy fines might be found.”
She said there was often massive congestion at Venus Bay over the holidays but not a lot of effort put into controlling the sitiation.
The moral of the story is, if you’re going to the Kongwak Market, park back at the hall or in the carpark at the park and avoid the costly fines altogether.
And the question must be asked, is a $159 fine appropriate for this type of ignorant wrong-doing?
It’s enough to ruin your Sunday