A delivery truck driver for the Salvation Army is advocating for an extension to a loading zone in front of its Merimbula store after twice being slapped with parking fines.
Mervyn Baxter has been to court twice over illegally parking outside the boundaries of a loading zone on Alice Street in Merimbula, where a Salvos charity franchise is located.
Mr Baxter drives his truck of donated furniture for stores in Bega and Merimbula on Wednesdays and Thursdays each week and has done so for the last 10 years.
On August 12, 2021, and January 6, 2022, his vehicle was left unattended in a no parking zone adjacent to the loading zone on Alice Street, and subsequently received a fine.
Contesting the fines in Bega Local Court, Mr Baxter received a reduced fine on his first appearance in June, and a dismissal on his second appearance this week.
When he appeared in court on October 11 for the January incident, he pleaded guilty but read a statement aloud to the court.
The 74-year-old truck driver said at the time he was carrying out the deliveries and collections of heavy furniture for the Merimbula store in a "clearly marked Salvation Army owned truck".
He told the court on the day of the incident he was carrying items including mattresses "in the pouring rain", and had nowhere else to unload his truck that "was located within a reasonable distance from the Merimbula store".
- Caravans in high demand as 'quick fix' to Bega electorate's housing crisis faces blocks
- The Swamp Stompers to play final show in the Bega Valley on farewell tour after 10 years
- Tathra's Eternity Festival funding 'sustainability revolution' through music
- Flooding to impact millions of Australians as heavy rain sets in
The loading zone sign is located in the middle of Alice Street, on the western side.
The loading zone was added to Alice Street two years ago following the removal of another loading zone on Beach Street due to council works.
Mr Baxter told ACM after the court proceedings it was incredibly difficult during the summer months when there were a higher number of trucks using the loading zone to find a place to unload.
Mr Baxter said only two vehicles were able to unload there at a time, despite eight businesses needing to be serviced on Alice Street.
He said it was difficult to find a free spot in the Merimbula RSL Club car park across the road from the loading zone and he couldn't afford the time to sit idle in the truck "because it is always a full on day".
Bega Valley Shire Council acting director of community environment and planning Anthony Payne said in response, "on both occasions, the loading zone immediately next to the no parking zone was vacant".
In court on Tuesday magistrate Michael O'Brien found Mr Baxter guilty but proceeded without a conviction.
Although Mr Baxter was happy with the matter being dismissed in court, he wanted to advocate for the loading zone to be extended by at least one truck length to help accommodate businesses and the charity.
Council said it had not yet been approached by the Salvation Army nor any other Alice Street businesses with regards to a loading zone extension.
"Council considers two loading zones on Alice Street adequate for servicing the existing businesses," said Mr Payne.
Have your say. Send a letter to the editor using the form below