There have been many positive outcomes from the amalgamation of the old Manly Council into the new Northern Beaches Council but one aspect that locals have become concerned about is the protection of their parking rights.
While the introduction of the Northern Beaches parking sticker was seen as a way to unite the peninsula, and enables Manly residents to park for free at local beaches further up the coast, it has had the adverse effect of making parking at our local beach even more difficult, if not impossible.
Recently the new administration at the council moved to cancel the Manly Resident Card, an initiative introduced by Good for Manly to allow local residents to park for 3 hours free in the four council car parks in Manly’s CBD.
This was followed by the change, without notice, of the evening flat rate parking fee starting time from 7pm to 6pm. This sent locals into a spin. No longer could they pop into Coles on the way home for dinner supplies or to pick up takeaway nearby without being hit with an $11 parking fee. Community groups and local gyms were also adversely affected with customers now having to pay a $11 parking fee to attend a 6.30am class!
Candy Bingham and Good For Manly were quick to act, contacting the council, notifying the Manly Chamber of Commerce and preparing detailed submissions to council staff.
To their credit the new Council responded quickly. They put on hold the cancellation of the Manly Resident Card, which is to undergo further review.
The Evening Flat Parking Fee was changed back to 7pm within weeks.
However these changes demonstrated an important point. Parking is one of the biggest issues in Manly. It is scarce. Manly CBD is our local shopping centre and the local businesses need our support to survive.
The council’s current approach of ‘harmonising’ everything across the Northern Beaches needs to be challenged. One size fits all does not necessarily fit all when you have areas with special needs (and millions of tourists!)
Good for Manly is currently working on a parking plan for Manly locals. We will welcome your feedback once it is completed.
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.