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Editions

Boaties upset on parking

27 Nov 2009

Boaties upset on parking Image

Charter boat operators say they are being further squeezed by a City of Melbourne decision to restrict their parking on Central Pier.

The operators say they had a working arrangement with VicUrban and Altantic Group [v] whereby each boat had two carparking spaces available.

But this was changed without consultation last month when the council wrote telling them that only one vehicle would be accommodated and that parking permits were not transferable to any other vehicle.  Other vehicles would have to pay, the council said.

Melbourne Show Boat operator Jeff Gordon said it was further evidence that the council wanted to force the charter boats out of Docklands.

“We bring so many people to Docklands and add a badly needed dimension to the area but we are just not appreciated,” Mr Gordon said.

Restaurateur Lou Jovanovski said the decision was “ridiculous”.  “Why would you do it at the busiest time of the year,” he said.

“How do we service our boats and why do we need to pay Atlantic when their lease doesn’t cover the western end of the pier?”

“What it shows is that no one wants the charter boats.  They all talk about activating the waterfront, but no one does anything to activate it,” Mr Jovanovski said.

He said Melbourne had the worst charter fleet anywhere outside the third world.  Docklands offered no pump-out facilities or anywhere to maintain boats, he said.

He said half of his fleet of four was already leaving Melbourne for the Gold Coast and he had to decide in the New Year whether to pull out of Docklands altogether.

“How can we sit here with no home?  We’ve done it for 12 years,” Mr Jovanovski said.

A VicUrban spokesperson said Central Pier Docklands was allowed to charge for parking between Sheds 9 and 14.  The lease provides for 10 spaces for boat operators which are exempt from any charges.

The City of Melbourne manages the parking on the pier on behalf of VicUrban.

The VicUrban spokesperson said the lease did not include the public space west of Shed 9, although Central Pier Docklands had recently requested a separate licence to allow parking in this area.

“VicUrban is currently considering this request, in context with its priority that the area be available for public events and activities,” the spokesperson said.

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