Frustration over fines
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.