Trial parked for a month

November 24, 2017

A free parking trial is far from a foregone conclusion, Greater Shepparton City councillors say, with plenty of details yet to be teased out during the next month.

Frustration at the push for free parking in the Shepparton CBD was on show this week as councillors thrashed out a trial proposal, ultimately deemed too light on detail.

The matter will instead return next month for consideration, with more reports and information on any trial attached.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Kim O’Keeffe said she was supportive of a trial taking place, but any proposal needed to stack up. She welcomed more detail and guidance being forthcoming ahead of the item being reconsidered in a month.

Cr O’Keeffe commended Cr Shelley Sutton’s proposed free parking trial bringing the issue back to the fore, even if the motion itself ‘‘wasn’t complete.’’

‘‘It’s gone on for too long ... it’s something that needs to come to some form of conclusion.

‘‘There’s been no definite determination, we need to know it’s the right decision,’’ she said of any trial.

Much rested on ensuring a definitive result could be ascertained from any trial period, she said.

‘‘We have to make sure a process is in place that can give us those answers.’’

Cr Chris Hazelman, whose alternative motion for considering the item in December was successful, said trial evaluation criteria resembled the most important detail to be determined during the next month.

‘‘That’s a clean sheet of paper at the moment,’’ he said.

‘‘So that at the end of this, if there is a trial, you can have a definitive answer, but we’re a long way from getting to a trial. We have to have a discussion over whether that whole process is worthwhile.’’

Tuesday’s meeting was about setting in place a process to reach an informed position on the issue, Cr Hazelman said.

If a trial proceeded, he asked how its success would be measured.

‘‘We’ve been arm-wrestling around that for months and that’s a difficult one,’’ he said.

The real challenge behind the issue revolved around the diversity of opinion, he said.

Cr Hazelman said a free parking trial was anything but a forgone conclusion.

In coming up with an answer next month, Cr Hazelman said plenty needed to be answered, including budgetary implications and perceived benefits of free parking.

He said it was not a singular issue and the consequences of any move went beyond the view, ‘‘we all don’t like paying for parking.’’

The council now needed ‘‘the full story behind it, so we can get to the bottom of this and put it to bed once and for all,’’ he said.

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