Mobility card holders irate

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 08:00 10/11/2012

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Free parking for mobility card holders is likely to be on the way out in Palmerston North.

The city council faced a furore from people with disabilities in September after starting to enforce a bylaw requirement for all motorists to feed the meters.

Many of the city's hundreds of card holders did not get the letter warning them they would have to pay for parking or pay the $40 fine, and the council conceded the database it had used was out of date.

After a deputation to the planning and policy committee, they won a reprieve while staff and councillors considered the issue.

But on Monday the committee will be asked to support a staff recommendation that parking charges be imposed on metered mobility carparks.

Council road planning team leader David Lane said charging mobility card holders was consistent with the principles of "transparency, fairness and financial prudence".

One of the opponents, David Vickery, said he would continue to fight the move. "I'm furious. They're a pack of bastards.

"If they let this through, I hope they all wake up on Tuesday morning and find they have had a stroke in the night."

Mr Vickery said it was unfair that people had to pay for parking as well as paying $50 for the mobility card.

The card entitles people to use the mobility parks, and gives them an extra 30 minutes on top of their paid parking in recognition that it takes them longer to get back into their cars.

DPA Palmerston North and Districts chairwoman Gill Absolon expected another strong turnout at Monday's meeting.

She said while there were mixed views about the way the mobility parking scheme worked, there was resistance to having a benefit people had enjoyed taken away, just in time for Christmas.

Mr Lane said the council did not receive any revenue from the $50 people paid for the cards in a scheme administered by CCS Disability Action, so the only way card holders contributed to the costs of providing parking in the city was through the meters.

Mr Lane said card holders aged over 65 were eligible to buy an exemption card that entitled them to free parking in the central city between 9am and 11am on weekdays.

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- Manawatu Standard

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