Frus­tra­tion over fines

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - by Alexis Gill­ham alexis. gill­ham@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

JAMES Cook Univer­sity stu­dents are re­ceiv­ing park­ing fines de­spite pay­ing their an­nual park­ing fees.

Mustafa Al Shakarji, who re­ceived six park­ing tick­ets last year af­ter pay­ing the $ 65 per­ma­nent park­ing charge, said the cam­pus’ poor parki n g s i t u a t i o n h a d b e e n caused by an in­creas­ing num­ber of stu­dents, with­out t he same i ncrease be­ing made to park­ing spaces.

He said the large num­ber of driv­ers forced some stu­dents to park in ar­eas not des­ig­nated as park­ing spaces.

Mr Al Shakarji said it had been made worse this year with rain caus­ing pot­holes and rough sur­faces in some of the carparks – par­tic­u­larly in the molec­u­lar science de- part­ment which sup­plies park­ing to physio and phar­macy stu­dents.

But while James Cook Univer­sity f i nances and re­sources plan­ning di­rec­tor Tri­cia Brand ad­mit­ted the univer­sity’s road sur­faces had been dam­aged by the ex­tended wet sea­son, she said there were gen­er­ally parks fur­ther away from the more pop­u­lar ar­eas.

Ms Brand said few stu­dents had com­plained about the park­ing sit­u­a­tion this year.

But Mr Al Shakarji dis­agreed, say­ing the prob­lem was so wide­spread that some stu­dents were even threat­en­ing to take the is­sue to court.

‘‘ Ev­ery year stu­dents who want to park in per­ma­nent park­ing have to pur­chase tick­ets but ... they only have a lim­ited num­ber of per­ma­nent park­ing avail­able,’’ he said.

‘‘ The re­main­ing park­ing is f r ee but t he num­ber of stu­dents is so high that the free area is also taken ... you e n d u p w i t h s o m a n y stu­dents with nowhere to park that you ei­ther park on the kerb or the grass.

‘‘ The se­cu­rity ev­ery day goes around and in­stead of se­cur­ing area they fine ev­ery per­son and even if you have a sticker ( re­ceived when the an­nual park­ing fee is paid) and you’re parked on the grass they charge a fine.

‘ ‘ The fine is about $ 17 which might not seem a lot but for a stu­dent who lives on a Cen­tre­link fort­nightly pay­ment of $ 2 5 0 t his i s al­most 7 per cent of pay­ment gone.’’

Ms Brand said the so­lu­tion was for stu­dents to ar­rive early when they needed to park in peak times.

‘‘ Se­cure bi­cy­cle fa­cil­i­ties are also avail­able and the univer­sity is cur­rently of­fer­ing sub­sided bus passes to as­sist stu­dents,’’ she said.

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