Submission re Boats on Trailers

The Northbridge Progress Association responded to Willoughby Council’s enquiry in regard declaring the whole of the City of Willoughby Local Government Area a “Declared Area” for the legislation associated with the control of “Trailer” parking on our public streets.
Below is a copy of our submission.


New Boat Trailer Parking Restrictions

We wish to comment on the proposed introduction of new boat trailer parking restrictions across the entire Willoughby Local Government area.

We encourage Council’s endorsement of declaring the whole of the City of Willoughby local government area to be a “Declared Area” for the legislation associated with the control of “Trailer” parking on our public streets.

It is our view, though, that the Impounding Amendment (Unattended Boat Trailers) Act 2015 will provide minimal influence in the control of unattended trailers parked on the road.

Background:

Parking and traffic are the two key issues that severely impact developing communities. As quoted from a Willoughby City Council Report into the Proposed Draft Street Parking Strategy (Report presented to Council 4 Nov 2013, Item 21.1) it is quoted:

“As more people use cars as their main form of transport, demand for parking in Willoughby LGA has increased over the last decade.”

“A 2007 household travel survey found that the number of private vehicles in the Sydney region grew from 2.03 million in 1999 to 2.34 million in 2007. This represents a 15% growth in a matter of eight years. This growth trend is supported by a February 2013 survey of Chatswood’s streets, which found that parking demand has reached saturation particularly after 7 pm when on-street parking occupancy averages at 92%.”

Today, Willoughby LGA is home to almost 76,000 residents who own over 32,500 vehicles (Willoughby.id, 2013). … If all residents’ cars where were lined up nose-to-tail, the space required to supply this parking demand is approximately 195 KM.

Local statistics clearly demonstrate that parking supply in Willoughby LGA is becoming a premium commodity, and this is without taking account of visitor parking demands, let alone, the addition of recreational boats on trailers and other trailer parking.

What are the key issues and why action should be considered:

The key issues confronting our Local Government Area, are:

  • There is a critical shortage of parking spaces available on our residential streets;
  • The Willoughby Parking Strategy’s focus was on car parking. It did not account for the surge in recreational trailer parking on our roads.
  • Trailers are a hazard when parked unattended on our streetscape, especially at night;
  • Trailers are often wider than cars so protrude further into the roadway and make it harder to negotiate the narrower Willoughby Streets in a vehicle;
  • The height of boats on trailers, parked adjacent to a driveway, can pose a visual safety obstacle – they block the vision of drivers reversing out of driveways;
  • Parking a trailer for days in front of someone else’s house is inconsiderate;
  • Trailers, without boats attached, can be an eyesore” on our streetscape;
  • In enforcing the Act, Council Rangers are incapable of determining whether or not a trailer has been moved and then returned to the same position;
  • The Impounding Amendment (Unattended Boat Trailers) Act 2015 allows a Trailer to be parked in the same location for 43 days (28 days plus 15 days’ notice) at which point it may be moved one block and then returned to the same position, uninhibited.

Opinion

The NPA consulted the community, during the period 12-Feb to 17-Feb, to ascertain opinion. Results of the survey found:

  • We received a total of 123 responses to our survey;
  • The majority (81%) (100) of the respondents surveyed acknowledged that they did not own a boat.
  • 76% (94) expressed an opinion that unattended boats on trailers should not be allowed to remain parked on suburban streets;
    • Of these, 65% (61) supported the view that unattended boats on trailers should be parked on the owner’s property while 27% (25) felt that boat trailers should be parked within a Council or other locally provided and designated boat trailer parking area.
    • The remaining 8% (8) agreed with a combination of both alternatives being permitted – with an allocated Council parking area not being too isolated for security reasons. Several respondents, within this group, implied that they would support boats being parked directly outside the owner’s property only – if no other alternative was available.
  • 24% (29) of respondents favoured boat trailers being permitted to park on the street – a clear majority suggesting that the boat trailers parked in the street should only belong to immediate residents; and given the width of some trailers, should not be parked within narrow roads. Some suggested that with the increase in high-rise residential living – If the street outside the owner’s home is such that a boat cannot be parked there then the owner should store the boat off the street altogether, e.g. at a marina or in paid storage facilities.
  • The majority of respondents agreed that “box trailers” 78% (96) and Caravans 84% (103) should be subject to the same legislation as boats on trailers. This is indicative that ALL trailers should be covered by the same legislative controls.

Conclusion

Based on the community feedback received, we consider the Act, deficient, in regard –

  • its ability to bring about an improvement in the control of trailer parking in our streets;
  • its control of the danger associated with wide trailers being parked in narrow streets;
  • its control of unattended trailers (in general) being parked on residential streets where the owner of the trailer is not a resident. This restricts inhabitants of that area from parking outside their home;
  • the control of what height, width and bulk.
  • Permission for a trailer to be parked for 28 days plus 15 days’ notice is impractical to enforce.

Street parking in our residential area, as outlined by previous Willoughby Council reports, is a premium commodity. While we support the growth in recreational activities and boat ownership, we question whether the government has given a proper and considered evaluation to this legislative control. We request Council to seriously explore opportunities available for the provision of off-street parking alternatives for all types of trailers. At the very least, we seek provision for parking permits for trailer owners to ensure they are stored in proximity to the owner’s residence.

We, therefore, support Council’s endorsement of declaring the whole of the City of Willoughby Local Government area to be a “Declared Area” for the purposes of legislation associated with the control of “Trailer” parking on our public streets BUT question the adequacy of the current legislation and so seek Council’s support in addressing this issue with the State Government.

We thank you for your interest and look forward to your favourable consideration.

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