Sport park penalties not fine

By Shepparton News

There’s a parking problem at the soccer-field end of the Sports Precinct. The council knows it. Attendees know it. And now thanks to numerous public complaints, The News knows it.

There are clearly not enough parking spots.

It could be suggested the soccer fields are a victim of their own success. Obviously, lots of parents and carers enjoy taking their children there to play and compete.

Friends and grandparents also seem drawn in to help, watch or both.

That is a great thing and a testament to the council planning for a healthier, happier Shepparton.

But the planning was not good enough and solutions are needed.

Telling parents and carers to simply park further away displays an ignorance of their needs, especially those supervising younger children.

Walking a kilometre with gear, supplies and other items associated with supporting children’s sport, all the while caring for and supervising one or more children, is not an easy proposition for the fit and healthy, let alone someone struggling with mobility or health issues.

And yet for those who do not arrive exceptionally early on a Saturday morning, that is the proposition forced upon them.

Alternatively, they can park ‘‘illegally’’ and run the risk of a large fine, as occurred last Saturday.

That parking inspectors had to reportedly flee from an angry crowd also demonstrates a failure of policy and process.

Those inspectors should never have been placed in that position.

Slapping parents and volunteers with large fines, while legal in the strictest sense, was a poor way to approach the problem and denotes a lack of communication skills.

Parents and carers do not want to break the law. They want to take their children to enjoy Australia’s most popular participation sport for boys, and second most popular overall.

That is a great thing for our community, something that should and does unite us.

Punishing them for doing so via poor planning, poor communication and hefty fines will only serve to divide.