The paid parking trial I blogged on 3 weeks ago has been the subject of criticism and threats by the State Government Minister for transport, Stephen Mulligan.
Unbeknown to us we have erected three of the machines in Railway Terrace South (East of Goodwood Road) on Government land. A bad mistake on our part, believing that the tram corridor fence correctly delineated the border between Government and Council land.
The minister was quite blunt in threatening to remove the machines for us if we do not. His claims had the media claiming we were forced to remove them. Not so. They had been moved by us long before his time on TV.
Had he chosen to speak with us rather than go to the press he would have known that.
Listening to the interview you would believe his department found the error and we were being uncooperative. One again, not so.
Fact is we found the error yesterday, not the government. Fact is we contacted them to let them know of the error. And as noted above fact is we removed them first thing this morning.
Our mistake at the end of the day was trusting in the alignment of the fence along the tram corridor. A fence erected in the wrong location in error not by us but by the Government. Machines erected on land we have been maintaining in the belief that we owned it. So land we have been maintaining on their behalf.
Actually, maybe our mistake was alerting DPTI to our discovery and not simply removing them without paying them the courtesy of keeping them in the loop.
So while the Government through Minister Mulligan is asserting trespass on our part and with the press stinging us with claims we would have to repay thousands of dollars in illegal fines I ask these questions.
Firstly from where do they calculate the thousands in fines. My understanding is we have issued 6 fines in the three weeks of the trial. And the fee was a maximum $ 4.00 per day.
Next question is will the government pay us for the decades of maintaining their property for them and who will they expect to look after the land in the future. I doubt very much they will have an interest in maintaining the corridor as those who live adjacent the tram line and indeed the two rail corridors that also run through Unley can attest.