A storm is brewing in Manly over the Northern Beaches Council’s proposal to cancel the Manly Resident Card which provides three hours free parking for residents in the Council’s CBD car parks.
Former Manly Councillor and Good For Manly President, Candy Bingham, is campaigning against the move claiming it is unfair to Manly residents and that local businesses rely on locals, not just tourists, for their survival.
“Manly CBD is our local shopping centre but the council car parks only provide two hours free parking not 3 hours like its competitors at Stocklands, Warringah Mall and all other shopping centres on the peninsula”, Candy Bingham explained.
The introduction of an additional free hour parking for locals was a Good For Manly initiative which became the Manly Resident Card four years ago.
The purpose was to support our local businesses as it was found that two hours free parking was not adequate nor competitive.
For example we have a large number of hair, nail & beauty salons in Manly. It can take 2.5 hours to get your hair done which means that locals need to pay for the third hour parking, which costs $12.50. An expensive haircut!
“We have large communities of swimmers who like to stay for coffee and breakfast; volunteers at the Library and Community Centre; friends meeting for shopping and lunch, all of which require more than two hours”, Mrs Bingham said.
The Chamber of Commerce has come out in support of retaining the third hour free for locals saying their business is vital to the viability of most retailers in Manly.
The Northern Beaches Council argues that the Manly Resident Card is not equitable, and is costing the Council $100,000 a year in lost revenue.
However, this revenue estimate is challenged by parking expert and former CEO of Wilson Parking, Craig Smith, who says that research shows that locals resent paying for parking that they believe they are entitled to. “They would rather leave than pay $12.50 for an extra hour, or simply not come to Manly at all”, he said.
“One way to make the Card more equitable and cost effective for the council would be to charge a nominal annual fee for the card, which can only be used once a day. Only one card is available per household.
“The technology required to accept the card at the four Manly Car Parks is already in place and operating effectively. I hope the Council will review its decision and retain the Card albeit for an annual renewable fee”, Mrs Bingham said.
Around 1,600 people obtained a Manly Resident Card from the former Manly Council, which then charged a one-off fee of $40.00. These cards are still valid for another six months only.
A copy of Good For Manly's submission to Council to retain the card is below.
Do you use a Manly Resident Parking Card?
Short term holiday letting has been around for years, but over the last few years the industry has gone to a new level. And sea-side suburbs like Manly are riding the crest of the wave.
House-sharing websites, like Airbnb, benefit travellers by providing a huge number of new, affordable places to stay, and they help home-owners make the most of their biggest asset. The local economy, especially in rural areas, gets a boost as well, as travellers end up in local cafes, shops and restaurants.
But there’s a downside. Residents of apartment buildings worry that their building will turn into a hotel. They cite concerns about security, disrespect for common property, noise and late-night parties and loss of the “community” where they used to live. The traditional accomodation industry - hotels, hostels etc - who make bricks and mortar investments and also provide local employment - are under threat as well.
Manly residents have already fought, and won, one battle over this. Noisy “party units” were so disruptive that in 2004 Manly Council took action and required short-term renters to obtain council consent in order to operate.
This time around its the sharing economy which has emerged so quickly that legislation is struggling to keep up. A NSW parliamentary inquiry into the short term rental industry was held last year and its recommendations are now under review.
The most contentious issue is over what say apartment owners should have over how their apartment block is used. The concern is not about residents renting out a spare room, or even renting their whole unit for a few weeks at a time. But owners corporations are horrified at the thought that an apartment may turn into party central every week of the year, and there will be nothing they can do about it.
That fear was addressed in a recent government statement on the issue. It took on the most frightening recommendation of the parliamentary inquiry; that holiday lets should be “complying developments”, meaning there would be no legal basis for apartment blocks to pass by-laws to block or restrict them.
But the relevant government ministers - Anthony Roberts for Planning and Matt Kean for Innovation & Better Regulation - didn't agree and said they needed more time to consult with all the stakeholders.
The ministers, who will release a position paper this month, say that work needs to be done to find “a balance between providing options for accomodation and allowing residents to go about their daily lives”. Stakeholders, including the traditional tourism industry, the house-sharing economy and residential communities will be consulted.
“We don’t want a holiday accomodation market that’s so over-regulated it puts people off coming here, but the rights of residents who live near these properties must be considered too,” Mr Keen said.
Good For Manly president Candy Bingham said she welcomed the consultative approach.
"I've been contacted by people who are in despair over problem units in the building they live in," she said. "They say that existing by laws covering noise and problem behaviour are not enough to deal with people who are just coming to have a good time, and behave as if they've booked into a unsupervised hostel".
“I believe apartment owners deserve the right to decide if short-term rentals are permitted within their strata communities and if so on what basis it is permitted.” she said.
What do you think?
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor, Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations & community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.