Hobsons Bay council has moved an urgent business motion to issue 10 free seasonal permits to Hobsons Bay Life Saving club which would exempt holders from both hourly charges and timed parking limits during the busy summer months.
At the council meeting on Tuesday, November 14, councillor Daria Kellander moved the motion requesting council officers provide a report on a new summer foreshore safety parking policy ahead of the December meeting.
This policy would consider the needs of both Altona Lifesaving Club (ALSC) and Williamstown Swimming and Life Saving Club (WSLSC) which have been dealing with parking issues for months on end.
Cr Kellander said the intent of this motion is to provide a fair and equitable summer foreshore parking permit scheme that enhances eligible community clubs and organisations access to the foreshore within Hobsons Bay.
Parking meters and new restrictions on the Altona foreshore precincts came into effect on May 1, turning what was once a free parking area into a precinct with 129 paid parking spots demanding $4.80 per hour.
“Particularly for our lifesaving club volunteers in recognition of the contribution that they make to the safety and recreational interests of our local community and all beach and foreshore users,” she said.
“The impacts to our lifesaving volunteers were not considered at this point in time.”
The ALSC first reached out to council in April to begin discussion on the topic and a petition was brought to the September meeting which was accepted unanimously, however Cr Kellander said council has still not committed to a solution at this point in time.
“This motion is about making a commitment now,” she said.
“Given that the official lifeguard season has already begun, the safety of our community and visitors can’t wait any longer.”
Cr Kellander said several volunteers of the alternate lifesaving club have already resigned due to having to pay for parking.
“… As a council we shouldn’t be adding further disincentives on our community volunteers, especially when it comes to such an important cause, such as lifeguard service on our beaches.”
Councillor Pamela Sutton-Legaud said this is urgent as summer is around the corner.
“Clearly this is something that the ALSC does want and need , we don’t want to lose volunteers, especially those who are coming from other suburbs to help us here.”