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HomeLatest NewsReverse park: Council changes mind on night-time parking meters

Reverse park: Council changes mind on night-time parking meters

Northern Beaches Council has reversed its decision to extend metered parking in the Manly CBD and beachfront to 10pm and limit to two hours, it was announced this afternoon.

While extensions to the loading zone periods will remain, the major changes, which were controversially approved by the Traffic Committee in October, will be undone with no date set to discuss it further.

In a statement on its website,

Council said: “Recent changes to parking times along Wentworth Street and South Steyne in Manly, which were recently adjusted to align with 2-hour parking limits between 7 am to 10 pm in nearby areas, have been reversed.”

“Unfortunately, due to a miscommunication, Council did not adequately consult with the Chamber of Commerce before the Local Traffic Committee decided to introduce the changes.”

“We apologise for the miscommunication and confusion caused to all involved. Council is now reviewing the proposed changes.”

We understand members of the Traffic Committee, including a delegate for Manly MP James Griffin, withdrew their support for the change once it was apparent the Chamber were not in favour of the plan as was mistakenly advised.

You can read Council’s full statement here: https://www.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/council/news/latest-update-parking-changes-manly

Previous article, for context, is below:

Published: 20 November 2023:

A controversial move to extend metered parking throughout Manly until 10pm and restrict it to two hours has been unanimously opposed by the Manly Business Chamber, despite Council initially claiming the decision had full Chamber support.

Exactly how the miscommunication occurred remains a mystery.

All three elected Manly Ward councillors were also unaware of the decision, made by the Traffic Committee in October, until the signs were erected last week.

None is pleased.

What has changed?

The change, already in force and signposted, sees metered parking along the beachfront at South Steyne and along the Corso between Darley and Whistler Streets extended to 10pm and limited to two hours or in some sections just half an hour. Previously it was unrestricted parking from 6pm.

Signs were also placed along the South Steyne beachfront implying the new two-hour restrictions applied to the Northern Beaches resident stickers, however this has since been retracted with an apology from Council. Council says the four-hour free parking remains for sticker holders and these signs will be removed.

Parking changes at Manly. Photo: Kim Smee

Council statement

A council statement said the changes were made “to improve parking turnover later in the evening when there is often a large influx of people coming into the area for the evening dining and entertainment trade.

“Parking changes were approved through the Northern Beaches Council Local Traffic Committee at the May 2023 and October 2023 meetings. A letter outlining the changes was sent to business owners in the area in late October. The benefit to the community from these changes will be reviewed in April 2024.”

A spokesperson for the council later confirmed: “Unfortunately, plans to discuss the changes with the local chamber of commerce were not acted upon initially, due to a miscommunication. Council is now in contact with the Chamber.”

Manly Chamber President Ashling O’Brien

Chamber responds

In a letter sent this week to the Transport Manager at Council, Chamber president Ashling O’Brien said the “amendments to metered parking extended to 10pm is seen as a huge deterrent for visitors to Manly, when we are eager to encourage visitation and trade to the area.”

The chamber states that while changes to Loading Zone use was fully supported, “the committee unanimously opposed other alterations. Specifically, amendments to meter parking between 6pm-10pm.”

“This period is RECOGNISED as the peak drink and dine time for all bars and restaurants in the CBD, and limiting parking does not allow time for a sit-down dining experience.”

“This period is recognised as the peak drink and dine time for all bars and restaurants in the CBD, and limiting parking does not allow time for a sit-down dining experience. Furthermore, with all daytime trading businesses closed by 6pm, there is little requirement or need for loading or short-term pickup/dropoff, especially the 30 minute proposal.”

Parking changes on the Corso between Wentworth/Darley and Whistler.

Reversal on the cards?

A delegate to Manly MP James Griffin, who sits on the traffic committee, confirmed they approved the changes based on being told explicitly that the Chamber “was fine” with the proposal.

Asked whether there are any avenues for residents to give feedback or request a review, Council advised that emails to council@northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au will be taken into consideration when they review the matter in five months’ time.

However, even the chair of the Traffic Committee that made the decision, Frenchs Forest ward councillor Jose Menano-Pires, suggested the decision should be re-evaluated as they too were advised the chamber was on board.

 “There’s no doubt that this process could and should have been handled in a much better and professional way by Council,” he said.

“The Traffic Committee was advised that consultation had occurred with the Chamber and that no objections were raised… It is now my understanding that several conversations did indeed take place between Council staff and Chamber staff, but that no formal meetings or consultation did take place with the Chamber Executive.

Conversations may well have taken place, but obviously not at the right level.

Northern Beaches Councillor Jose Menano-Pires.

As Chair of the Traffic Committee, I’ve discussed with the Acting Director, Transport and Assets, the need to review Council’s internal procedures which led to this unfortunate situation and correct as necessary to ensure that it does not happen again.

I’ve also asked that these particular changes in Manly be re-evaluated, including formal consultation with the Chamber, and brought back to the Traffic Committee, as soon as possible.

On behalf of the Traffic Committee, I can but apologise and commit to continue to work with Council Senior Management to ensure that such mistakes are avoided in the future.”

We will update the article should the parking restrictions be rescinded.

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Manly Observer is an experiment in providing non-sensationalist hyperlocal news on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We cover the big news across the LGA, but with a hyper focus on the Manly electorate encompassing Balgowlah, Seaforth, Freshwater, Brookvale and Curl Curl up to Dee Why. It is run by those living in the community for the benefit of an informed community. We care about an informed and connected community. That’s it. Simple. Thank you for your support in keeping quality local news alive!

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