Illegally parked vehicles causing frustration across Port Stephens

Boat trailers parked illegally around the Soldiers Point Off Lead Dog Park.

PARKING of trailers, caravans and boats on public streets and in parks has long been a contentious issue in Port Stephens.

Many believe that if you can afford a trailer, caravan or boat you should park it on your own property or pay to park it off road.

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Community members have also called on Port Stephens Council to better manage vehicles parked long term on public land.

According to Council, the legalities around parked vehicles can be complex.

“Generally, Council allows the parking of registered boat trailers, trailers, caravans (vehicles) in any area that a car is able to park legally,” Marc Goodall, Compliance Coordinator at Port Stephens Council told News Of The Area.

“If a vehicle is parked illegally, Council will enforce the breach of the rules in accordance with the most relevant legislation.”

Under the Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Act 2021 (‘PSUP Act’) and related Regulation (PSUP laws), Council has powers to deal with property that they reasonably believe has been left unattended in a public place.

There is a nominated time frame of 28 days for a vehicle to be parked in a location.

Council can act after this time, however Mr Goodall said enforcement can be challenging.

”Whilst the idea sounds simple the legal process is lengthy, resource intensive and ultimately (in our LGA) achieves very little,” he said.

“The process can take in excess of 50 days before Council has power to move the vehiclee.

“If the vehicle moves in that timeframe, the process starts again.”

Currently there are the remains of a burnt out caravan at the dog park at Soldiers Point – a tangled mess of metal littered with personal belongings that has been left on the roadside for weeks.

Sadly the knock on effect of this fire is that debris is now being washed into the drains and waterways.

When it comes to these parked vehicles, Council applies a risk-based approach.

“Generally if the vehicle was originally parked legally but has now been in location for longer than 28 days, it will pose little to no risk.

“If there is a particular issue/vehicle causing a significant or unreasonable impact, and the use of the PSUP Act is likely to achieve the required outcome, Council will enforce accordingly.

“An example may be, a vehicle has been in location for a long period of time and is unregistered, this vehicle would be deemed unattended under the PSUP Act and Council would require the removal of the vehicle from the road/road reserve or public place,” he said.

The public park opposite Soldiers Point Bowling Club has been utilised by some residents as permanent vehicle parking, and is being used heavily for boat parking, as are the roadsides adjacent to the dog park at Soldiers Point.

Last year Council dealt with 437 abandoned vehicles, and 369 the year before, without adding the registered and ‘legally parked’ ones to that list.


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