Free parking costs someone
‘‘Slow moving traffic with free parking available in the mall would allow immediate access to this exciting precinct.’’
What’s the hitherto nonpublicised word in a recent in-part quote from a mall spokesman from Shepparton’s Chamber of Commerce — even before four Maude St options are professionally concepted and analysed?
You’ve got it in one — ‘‘free’’, whatever that is. Not only does the chamber favour traffic Fryers to High via Maude, but it wants the estimated new 27 parking bays, with a maximum potential per annum meter income (at current $1.50 per hour) of $89 000, to be forgone.
Now $89 000 max per annum on its own wouldn’t, even at council borrowing rate over 10 years, service interest and redemption of a mall rejuvenation loan of much more than a half a million — but added to the total parking meter net income from all CBD parking, hey presto, there’s your total spend without digging into the hapless ratepayers’ increasingly depleted hip pocket.
Another couple of downsides of that ‘‘free’’ mall parking are, firstly, why would you make your arguably most premier parking only $1.50 per hour when you could easily command $3, tops, but certainly $2.
Secondly, ‘‘free’’ parking in the mall would, quite understandably, trigger nearby outside-mall trader revolt.
Widely regarded professor of urban planning Donald Shoup from the United States wrote a book wellentitled The High Cost of Free Parking. He’s highly respected as an expert in the economics of parking.
It’s worth a Google — pity we can’t get him here.
One of his best quotations, though, is well worth reiteration: ‘‘Who pays for free parking? Everyone but the motorist.’’ He’s quite correct, despite populist clamour; this is one American Donald worth heeding.
● There was an interesting article in a free local weekly publication headlined ‘‘Lovell welcomes fire services bill select committee final report’’ — copied verbatim from Wendy Lovell’s media release.
All good Liberal Party propaganda but seriously misleading by omission, methinks.
What’s left out, you ask? Just two significant facts.
First off, the omission that she actually was a member of that Select Committee — the report from which she’s so eagerly commending in her own ‘‘news’’ story.
The concluding resolution from that all-party Legislative Council Committee — ‘‘That the Draft Final Report (including Preliminary pages, Findings 1–10, Recommendations 1–10, Chapters 1–5, and Appendices 1–3), be adopted as the final Report of the Committee, and that it be Tabled out of session as soon as completed’’ — resulted in a divided vote (Ms Lovell and others were not present).
Now all members have a deliberative vote. In the event of an equality of votes, the chair also has a casting vote.
You can guess what happened: yes, the Liberal Party chairman, as is his prerogative, used his ‘‘second vote’’ (effectively) to endorse findings against the Legislative Assembly’s previous support for the controversial bill.
● While we’re on state party politics, have you noticed in our recently reinvigorated letters to the editor, no fewer than three separate party hack postings — each culminating with snide disparagements of local member Suzanna Sheed?
What’s the synergy there, you ask?
Each of the correspondents just happens to be a long-time adherent of the local Shepparton branch of the Liberal Party — one, at least, known to have held the exalted position of president.
Just a coincidence I suppose, but yes, it’s less than 15 months until the state elections and reliable testimony is that the Libs, despite earnest endeavour, can’t yet find a suitable and willing candidate while the Nats, with one very recent parliamentary resignation and another incumbent in a precarious position, will be experimenting with an interesting community-preselection process.
Whether letter-writing is part of an on-going commitment by the party aficionado, calculated repetitively to influence voters’ psyches, remains to be seen. Just keep your guard up — the commonality isn’t hard to pick.
● The controversial actions of metropolitan Darebin and Yarra City councils adopting a ‘‘no-go’’ stance on the issue of Australia Day being celebrated by them on January 26 has met with considerable condemnation from opponents — from the Prime Minister down to what could well be a majority of we everyday Aussies.
One common view put forward is that it’s no business of councils — they should stick to core business like ‘‘roads, rates and rubbish’’.
Maybe, but let’s have a squizz at the Local Government Act, the prescriptive bible for councillors, to see where the issue fits in.
What are the legislated functions of a council? Section 3e(1), among other things, dictates: ‘‘The functions of a Council include — advocating and promoting proposals which are in the best interests of the local community and (2) for the purpose of achieving its objectives, a Council may perform its functions inside and outside its municipal district.’’
As I see it, as a lay person, those councils are entitled to express a supporting view, consistent with the opinions of even an affected minority of their local community, and I strongly support their stance. Not that I’d expect such a radical move down at our city hall.
There are heaps of rational reasons for supporting a shift of the Australia Day date — the insensitive ‘‘Invasion Day’’ main aspect is one, but there are many others to do with general economics including tourism and often-occurring four-day weekends cranking up at the conclusion of summer holidays.
Anyhow, who really wants to celebrate 11 sailing boats, many carrying heaps of petty crims, savagely dispossessing the real original Aussies who lived here?
This issue is not going to go away. In the interim we can be proud Aussies every day, can’t we? ● Shepparton’s John Gray has vast experience in local government, urban water reform and natural resource management.
WHO PAYS FOR FREE PARKING? EVERYONE BUT THE MOTORIST.