By Derek Schlennstedt
Over the Christmas holidays – and much to the disbelief of many locals – a ticketing machine has mysteriously arisen in the township of Olinda.
For $2 per hour, you can park in the spaces provided in the car park located off Parsons Lane, behind Pie in the Sky.
The Mail spoke to local residents Margaret who said they were concerned that this was the start of something more.
“It was a bit of a shock to find it there,” said Margaret, who has lived in Olinda for 18 years.
“It does make you wonder where it is all going to end,” she said.
“Up until now everyone has put their signs out to say Mangana parking only or Cafe Olinda parking only, but now it’s getting serious and someone has put up a ticket machine.”
According to Yarra Ranges Council the paid parking meter in Olinda is owned and operated by private business owners and an estate agent for one of the private landowners said that there were two landowners involved in the machines construction and implementation.
Though, the estate agent assured The Mail that the ticket machine is only part of a three-month trial which has only been constructed as a result of people using the car spaces and going on bushwalks or leisure activities for the entire day rather than visiting the shops.
Yarra Ranges Council said that as it is a private owner car park it is also the responsibility of the owner to enforce the parking restrictions as council officers will not.
“Council officers do not patrol this private car park to enforce parking restrictions,” Acting Director of Environment and Engineering, Elissa Blake said.
“When parking in a private car park that is appropriately signed, a motorist enters into a contract with the operator.”
Current restrictions on the parking lot include a sign which details that the car park has three hour parking between the times of 7am and 7pm and is also a ‘Tow Away Zone’.
Though the parking meter has created heated discussion, it is also part of a wider discussion regarding parking problems within the popular tourist town.
Resident Margaret said that on weekends it almost becomes impossible for locals to venture into town or to even get off the mountain.
“On a Sunday there are thousands of people here, and they drive around and then drive off because they can’t get a park … it’s difficult getting out of our own town to get off the mountain,” Jan said.
“It’s extremely concerning on a high fire danger day.”