Council has flatly refuted claims unsuspecting shoppers are copping fines for shifting their car within the same city block to outsmart parking inspectors.
Unsuccessful council candidate Tina Gavel claims she was issued a parking fine on Baylis Street despite moving her car within the same before the time limit had expired.
It has long been a legal grey area about just how far motorists are required to move their cars in order for it to reset the parking time limit.
Council staff issued a statement clarifying “a motorist parked in Baylis Street who quits the area in the permissible time period, such as driving around the block, could then return to the same block, or to another block in the CBD and not be fined”.
Council patrols Baylis street with a camera car using GPS, which the organisation maintains “takes a photo on the first pass, and on its return, if a car has moved out of its original park, it would not trigger alert”.
Contrary to council’s assurances, Ms Gavel was adamant shoppers “trying to do the right thing” were being pinged.
“It's blatant revenue raising, there's no transparency,” Ms Gavel said.
“Go along and have a look at all the signs, there's not one warning.
“We’ve got tourists moving their car along the block, thinking they're doing the right thing, and wondering why they're fined.”
Mayor Rod Kendall’s “understanding” of the parking rule was akin to the claims being made by Ms Gavel.
"My understanding is you park in a zone, not a spot, and you’re expected to leave the zone once the time expires,” Cr Kendall said.
Cr Kendall said the same system applied in Sydney, whereby smart meters do not allow motorists to renew their paid parking within a certain distance, to encourage better traffic flow.
“Parking needs to provide the right mix of enough time for people to do business, as well as regular turnover for the retail shops,” he said.
Councillor and mayoral aspirant Paul Funnell was convinced drivers would be fined unless they moved their car to a different Baylis Street block once their parking spot had expired.
“It’s a ludicrous situation and people need to be made aware of it,” Cr Funnell said.
“I honestly believe this is an oversight in the policy that councillors must change as soon as possible.
“Unfortunately there are nuances and idiosyncrasies in our policies that upset people, which is why council needs to be more transparent and accountable.”
Wagga council collected more than $1 million in parking fines last financial year, compared to $150,000 in Dubbo.