School car ‘chaos’

Parking issues have again drawn the anger of community members during the council meeting on October 11. But rather than just Merimbula’s CBD, it was parking at Lumen Christi Catholic College that was also in the spotlight.

A spirited deputation to council by Shane Giles, from Lumen Christi and Leo Papalia, chair of the Lumen Christi community council spoke of the concerns by parents and staff about new no parking zones on Pambula Beach Rd.

Mr Giles said he was concerned about the safety of students and residents.

“We are here to request the no stopping signs be removed or covered while a solution found,” Mr Giles said.

Lumen Christi wants to see a return to parents being allowed to drop off students on Pambula Beach Rd and Mr Giles said the current situation was “dangerous” and “chaotic”.

Mr Papalia said it was about “kids’ lives”. 

“Some residents have complained about the traffic hazard. We’re talking about the safety of kids’ lives,” Mr Papalia said.

The no parking signs were installed after recommendations by the traffic committee, which is not a committee of council. However, councillor Robyn Bain is chair of the committee and explained that there have been concerns for some time about parking in Pambula Beach Rd.

Cr Bain said parking was eroding the verge under which there were valuable assets of council including water and sewer pipes and these had to be protected.

The discussion became so heated that at one stage the mayor Kristy McBain called for a halt.

Council has asked Lumen Christi to continue as a priority to work with council staff and the traffic committee to implement a safe drop off and pick up zone for the school.

Merimbula’s parking also came up for discussion, but it looks unlikely that the traffic committee will agree to change two hour parking in the CBD to three hour parking.  

However, council has requested that the local traffic committee consider amending the timed parking in Sapphire Coast Drive from Merimbula Drive to Main St on the eastern side from two hour parking to all day parking.

It is a small concession unlikely to appease Merimbula businesses concerned about parking in summer.