Last financial year, over half a million dollars in parking fines were issued to cars at the University of Canberra.

The exact figure, retrieved from the ACT government, from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016 is $557, 039.

Common fines included parking longer than permitted, not parking wholly within a bay, disobeying no parking signs, stopping in a loading zone and stopping on a path/ nature strip.

Student and cooper lodge resident, Martin Strangman received six fines over the year with most due to parking longer than permitted.

Most of Mr Strangman’s fines occurred in carpark 25 which was formerly outside of the library, it is now a construction site.

“They (carpark 25) had a ridiculous rule that all the parking on the outside ring of that was three hours only, the middle two rows were untimed,” he said.

“The first time I got fined there I did not realise because I just assumed it was all the same, some consistency would’ve been nice.”

Mr Strangman said a lot of Cooper Lodge residents were fined for similar reasons and cited a lack of parking within a sensible distance as a reason for this.

UCSA welfare officer, Terry Watson, who was “blown away” upon reading the figure blames this on issues regarding parking capacity.

“The demand for car parking is so high that we have reached times throughout the semester where especially towards exam season there have been literally no carparks available on campus,” he said.

“There have been public notices issued to residents not to leave in a car because they would lose their spot on campus.”

Mr Watson is lobbying for changes to parking on campus.

“These fines are anywhere between $100 to $230 and to have that kind of outside influence on student’s budgets, like, I shouldn’t have to choose between making rent or being liable to the government because I can’t find an adequate car park,” he said.

“When they (the fines) add up to a figure that high there is a systemic problem.”

Parking demands are likely to increase with the expansion of Cooper Lodge which will house 496 beds.

David Carr, the deputy director of planning and assets at the University of Canberra, said the university was very sympathetic to students facing parking related problems.

“We are very sympathetic and supportive of it all and certainly it’s on our radar and we are working hard to provide some solutions,” he said.

“There’s $1.4 million committed this year to upgrading some of the existing parking and also to produce an overflow parking site to the east of the campus.”

Mr Carr said revenue from parking fines is not received by the University of Canberra but the ACT government.

“The fine process and the revenue all goes towards the ACT government so it’s just the normal ACT government parking inspectors and infringement process.

“I would advise anyone who is going to dispute it to do it through them.”

About The Author

Contributor

Lucy Bladen is the former editor of Curieux and is studying Journalism and International Studies. She thrives on coffee, digs wine and would happily choose food over love any day. She hopes to one day be a foreign correspondent.

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