Residents living in modern housing estates with narrow roads will not be unnecessarily penalised for parking on nature strips unless it becomes a public safety issue, a council manager says.
The fine for parking on a nature strip is $95, which is mandated by the state government under the Road Safety Act, but enforced by local governments across Victoria.
Parking on nature strip fines – 48 – accounted for less than one per cent of the total fines issued by Bendigo council for 2016-17.
City of Greater Bendigo manager safe and healthy environments Caroline Grylls said enforcement of the road rules differed slightly from the CBD to suburban areas outside the city.
“We don’t actively drive around looking for people parking on nature strips,” said Ms Grylls, suggesting the first option for council staff was to seek cooperation with the vehicle owner wherever possible.
“If there's parking on the nature strip in the CBD - drivers are usually issued with an infringement unless it’s an emergency vehicle.
“Outside the CBD in more suburban areas we usually on respond to complaints – we prioritise them on safety, such as cars blocking driveways or obscuring views.”
The bulk of complaints were around schools during drop off and pick up times and the Bendigo Hospital, she said.
There was still a prevalence of confusion with locals regarding parking on nature strip, said Ms Grylls, arguing that ignorance wasn’t a defense.
“Fines can be avoided by parking legally,” she said.
The issue of nature strips reared its head on Monday, with the City of Greater Bendigo urging residents to avoid parking on the areas in White Hills during school drop off and pick up times.
City of Greater Bendigo director of presentation and assets Craig Lloyd said due to the range of works taking place in White Hills, parking was at a premium, especially surrounding the botanic gardens, while reminding residents it was illegal to park on nature strips.