On a warm weekend, parking is at a premium in the Northern Illawarra, especially around beaches at Austinmer, Coledale, Stanwell Park and Thirroul.
Drivers leave their cars anywhere they can find space while beachgoers enjoy their day.
Northern Beaches council (previously Pittwater and Manly Council areas) charges for beach parking.
Residents are given window stickers so they’re exempt, but visitors are forced to buy a ticket. In the financial year to 2015, this system raised around $2.6 million for the Northern Beaches region. In 2014 it was $2.36 million.
In addition, rangers patrol the beaches and issue fines to people parked illegally. This netted the Northern Beaches Council a further $2.94 million in the 2015 Financial year alone. That’s an annual total of more than five and a half million dollars.
Beach maintenance is expensive. They are cleaned, patrolled by lifeguards and have rubbish removed. Then there’s the cost of maintaining the amenities buildings and surrounding parks, and it’s all reflected in our Council rates.
Could this be a user-pays means of funding the maintenance of our beaches?