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Parking debacle during festival

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AIRLIE BEACH residents are up in arms after numerous parking infringements were issued over the course of the Great Barrier Reef Festival, on the weekend.

Thousands of people flocked to the Main Street of Airlie Beach for the four-day event, with the main street itself being closed to the public – reducing car park options.

The dirt car park adjacent to the Woolworths car park is owned by Magnums, and served as an unofficial overflow parking spot, particularly on the Saturday when the main road was closed.

Now motorists are calling out Care Park, the private business that manages car parks on behalf of clients across the globe – who had a staff member monitoring the car park routinely, on Saturday.

Airlie Beach local Sally Kellerman was issued an $88 fine, on Saturday, August 5, and is frustrated by the lack of alternative parking options offered.

“Not happy Jan,” she wrote.

“Got down there at 9.30am hoping to miss most of the crowd, car park full so had to park in muddy area to the left, which was also filling up.

“Was only an hour and came out to a frigging $88.00 parking ticket.

“If the council want to put on events, then allow for extra frigging parking, especially for locals.”

Ms Kellerman posted her complaints to several Whitsunday Facebook groups, which attracted nearly 70 comments.

Many of the comments came from people who were also issued parking infringements at the same car park and claim that the signage stating it was not a public car park was inadequate.

A spokesperson from Care Park’s Queensland team said people utilising the car park was unfair to Magnums’ staff and guests.

“The hotel has a huge issue with unauthorised parking at this site and, unfortunately, a lot of people disregard these very clear signs and make it very hard for staff and guests of Magnums,” the spokesperson said.

“The Woolworths car park is next door to this car park and is completely separated from this property.

“Unfortunately, people are ignoring these signs and parking in the Magnums car park when the Woolworths Car Park is at full capacity.

“Magnums staff and guests are being inconvenienced and having to find alternative parking when people continually ignore very clear signage.”

Whether the infringements are legally enforceable is often called into question, with Care Park media and public relations officer Yolanda Torrisi confirming the tickets were not fines, but payment notices.

“Basically, they are breaches of the terms and conditions of parking on private property,” she said.

“When somebody provides you a service, of course they have a right to be paid, and if someone breaches the terms of those conditions then, of course, we have the right to enforce the management of the car park.

“If people don’t pay for their parking or the breach of terms and conditions, then there are a number of steps following that to make sure we cover our losses.”

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