FURIOUS parents at a local high school have been slammed with hefty fines for stopping to collect their children – but council says compliance officers are just doing their job.
A number of Marian Catholic College parents have been fined $265 and had two demerit points docked from their driver’s licence after parking in the designated Hickey Crescent pick-up and drop-off zone for more than two minutes.
Council compliance co-ordinator Michael Toohey said the same rules applied to the zone as to any no stopping area and compliance officers were simply enforcing legislation.
“Compliance vehicles are constantly patrolling schools as a deterrent because of the complaints we have received about drivers,” Mr Toohey said.
“Nobody likes to get fined but if people illegally park and they’re caught, of course they will receive an infringement.”
But Brendan Catanzariti, who was stung with an infringement, said parents were left with limited options if they did not park in Hickey Crescent.
Mr Catanzariti was also concerned parents could not fight council’s “revenue raising” efforts.
“I’ve seen (the compliance officer) booking everyone because I was back from the no stopping zone – she was just writing down everyone’s number plates,” Mr Catanzariti said.
“Without going to court, there’s no way parents can defend themselves or fight against it.”
Parents often park on Wakaden Street but that forces children to cross the busy main road without supervision – something parent Lisa Romeo is very much against.
“I used to always park out the front on Wakaden Street, where the buses are,” Mrs Romeo said.
“But one day my son was crossing the road and he was almost hit by a bus – the mirror just missed him.”
She said Hickey Crescent was popular with parents but the two-minute pick-up zone was unrealistic given students were often late out of school.
She said other than a designated pick-up area within the school, a supervised pedestrian crossing on Wakaden Street would be the best option.
“Where are we supposed to park?” she said.
“Wakaden Street where there’s no lights or pedestrian crossing, up at Griffith East shops and make the children walk or park in Hickey Street and risk getting a fine we can’t afford?”
Marian Catholic College principal Alan Le Brocque understood parents’ concerns and said parking was difficult in the tight streets surrounding the school.
He said the school would establish a pick-up/drop-off zone in school grounds within the next few years, but in the meantime, he encouraged parents to put their children on the bus or park well away from the school.