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Not paid parking: new technology rolled out at council car parks

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Electronic signage that provides real-time parking availability has been rolled out at some of the Coast’s most high-profile tourist locations.

Signs at Caloundra’s Happy Valley were rolled out late last month, to go with similar measures at Mooloolaba, Maroochydore and Montville.

But the measures at Happy Valley have been met with some criticism from locals who are unhappy at the lack of community consultation over the signage.

Sunshine Coast Council has said the digital signs are not part of any paid parking roll-out.

A spokesperson for council said the smart technology was aimed at improving parking experiences.

“The parking usage data will also provide benefits into the future as the information gathered will inform council’s decisions regarding parking infrastructure and policy,” they said.

Division 2 Councillor Terry Landsberg also posted on social media about the roll-out of the technology at Happy Valley.

A new parking sign at Happy Valley. Picture: Facebook

“The system is a car parking counter system which is intended to provide real-time parking availability at the car park,” he posted on October 3.

“Car park counter systems are progressively being rolled out across the Sunshine Coast through the Parking Technology Program.

“This technology is not being rolled out for paid parking.”

Council’s approach to parking management is outlined in the Sunshine Coast Council Parking Management Plan.

“The comprehensive parking management plan and its 37 local area parking plans guide parking activities to help maintain the Sunshine Coast’s distinctive lifestyle and manage parking demand while providing easy and affordable access to popular business centres, beaches and community facilities,” the council spokesperson said.

“The Parking Technology Program aims to progressively deliver improvements to parking on the Sunshine Coast. This will ensure we achieve the outcomes outlined in the Parking Management Plan.

“Caloundra’s Happy Valley car park was chosen due to high demand and use of the car park.

“As this work is part of core activities to improve parking outcomes for the community, consultation was not undertaken.”

A view of the Happy Valley car park at Caloundra. Aerial imagery by Nearmap.

The lack of public consultation drew some negative reactions on Cr Landsberg’s post.

“Waste of taxpayer dollars and also insulting to intelligent visitors and residents. Stop installing all this unnecessary tech at our expense. There was no public consultation on this and our rates are affected by all this tech rubbish. We have always cruised into and out of these parks sharing laughs and patience while others pack up gear. It’s what community does. Stop sterilising it!” one comment read.

Another post said: “I’m so confused by what the actual point is or what is achieved. The council should have spent the money actually sorting out the sand parking area or introduce timed parking to create turnover.”

“I’m very happy it’s not paid parking. Paid parking further restricts free family play in an already tight cost of living environment!” said another.

The council spokesperson said more digital signs were expected to be installed around Mooloolaba and Maroochydore in coming months.

The aerial imagery in this story is from Australian location intelligence company Nearmap. The company provides government organisations, architectural, construction and engineering firms, and other companies, with easy, instant access to high-resolution aerial imagery, city-scale 3D content, artificial intelligence data sets, and geospatial tools to assist with urban planning, monitoring and development projects in Australia, New Zealand and North America.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

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