Vacant block goes from fine to fines
THE battle for driver resources, such as toilets and a place to rest their head, has taken an aggressive turn towards revenue raising.
Gold Coast truck drivers have been fined hundreds of dollars for parking and unhooking their trailers in the same area they've been using for decades.
Driver Trent O'Neill is one of the operators who received more than six separate parking fines in the mail over a two-month period.
The area in dispute is a patch of land on the western side of the M1 near Yatala frequented by commercial vehicles.
For a long time the transport industry has used this area without issue from the council. A truck can even be seen parked at the Cuthbert Dr area on Google Images.
The space is bordered by a series of wooden bollards erected by the council on the northern end of the area.
There is no signage and the area is not surrounded by housing, nor does it impede or otherwise impact on the flow of traffic or public safety.
"I received my first fines in August, copped three in one day for my trailers," Trent said.
"Later I received a letter hitting me for three more in September."
Trent, like many other drivers, has been using the area for more than 14 years without concern, so was surprised when the letter arrived.
"The infringement says the heavy vehicle was left on Cuthbert Rd," he said.
"I'm just at a loss. They have this infrastructure in place, they don't need to spend any money but now they don't think we should use it.
"This is a valuable piece of land ... being restricted by a narrow-minded council."
After approaching the council and the federal member on the matter Trent was left disappointed.
"When you look at the response I got back from both levels you can see there isn't the push for drivers there," he said.
"But there isn't much of an alternative, what do you do, go down and park out the front of people's business or are we all supposed to lean on the BP?"
Trent has found representation and is contesting the matter in court.
But he isn't the only one.
Big Rigs headed out to see the spot for themselves and came upon driver Len Richards, who had parked his B-double in the area.
It was a wet day and Len was working to change a tyre to get make it to Sydney by deadline.
"Yeah, I got one," he told Big Rigs.
It cost him $168, not a small figure for anyone.
"It was a Sunday morning I got it and I doubt a car driver would have been given one but I don't know what they want us to do instead," he said.
"It's space that we use and I've been using for a long time."
For Brooke Winter, of Brooke Winter Solicitors, who will represent Paul, it's far more than a driver's gripe.
"The issuing of infringement notices in these circumstances is simply revenue raising and has clearly occurred without proper thought or consultation with the industry," he said.
"If the council wishes to designate this area as a no parking zone then they should first consult the industry and identify their needs, erect the correct signs and most importantly provide an area where heavy vehicles can conduct their lawful business without the fear of being penalised.
"This is a common problem in many areas right throughout Australia which needs to be addressed."
Gold Coast City Council has not responded to requests for comments.