Crackdown on vehicles offered for sale on council land
IT'S the weekend and the community style "sidewalk car markets" should be in full swing around Gladstone.
Main sites are outside the Clinton Park sports area and the Boyne Island side of the Centenary Drive bridge.
Selling vehicles on council property is illegal and has been for many years, but many residents seem unaware of their crime, or that it attracts an on-the-spot fine of $200.
This isn't a case of the council turning a blind eye - fines were issued on vehicles as recently as Wednesday.
Councillor Col Chapman said not only were there safety issues, the law was also about keeping up appearances.
"One issue, when a car is usually for sale, is that it does distract people from their driving," he said.
"The other issue is aesthetics. It just doesn't look nice when you're coming into a town and the first thing you see is a motley parade of cars,and caravans and bikes and all sorts of machinery, with these big 'for sale' signs."
Does this mean that council is forcing ratepayers into other commercial methods to sell their cars?
"That has been said to us," Cr Chapman said.
"We found it doesn't really make any difference because there's other avenues they can put their vehicles up for sale.
"There's online they can do it. They can do it through the newspaper and they can even put it in their own driveway.
"Certainly it's an ideal, highly visible area that they are doing it in, but it's also creating a hazard out there."
For those surprised this act is prohibited, the laws have been around for a long time.
"They've always been in existence, but with the amalgamation of the councils, we had to go through the process of making new local laws that complied with the whole region," Cr Chapman said.
"Until that time the old local laws still applied."
The $200 fine goes into consolidated revenue and it helps to pay for local law officers.
"We've only really taken action out at the Clinton sports ground recently," Cr Chapman said.
"Before we went out and started issuing infringement notices, we had to make sure that the correct signage was in place and also advise people that this is really against the local laws, please move on."
With cars consistently in these spots, a council designated location could be needed.
"It could be possibly considered. I don't think it is likely to be considered in the current term of council. Unless there's a huge community feeling that we should do this," Cr Chapman said.
"If we change the local laws, we have to go through a whole process."
- $200 on the spot fine
- New local laws approved around November 2011
- As of September 29, infringement notices were issued
- Before the new local laws, previous similar laws applied
- Distracts people from their driving
- Detracts from the city's image
THE Observer checked out some vehicles for sale on council property outside the Clinton sports field on Thursday.
They weren't in the multiples as usual - possibly because it was a weekday or recent council fines had acted as deterrents.
A phone call to a seller of a Hyundai Sonata found the car owner did not know it was illegal to sell the car there.
"(I parked) just because I saw the other cars there. And it sold straight away, so it worked," he said.
"I think it's because people can just drive past and check it out, without having to go to someone's house."
The seller did not agree with the council's belief that the cars were a hazard.
"How could it?" he said. "No. People like it being there, it's convenient. When I want a car, I go there. You know there's going to be cars there, private cars, usually at good prices."
The seller also did not agree that it looked bad.
"No. I don't know who it would offend, certainly doesn't offend me. I don't think it's aesthetically unpleasing. I think it's just cars for sales.
"No car yard would be aesthetically pleasing would it? I mean, there's how many hundred cars parked at Bunnings?"
The idea of a designated spot resonated with the seller.
"Absolutely, yeah, that would be great. They could even charge $10 each."
DARRYL Eilola is president of the Clinton Mudcrabs and is regularly at the Clinton Park sports field.
He said he was used to seeing the cars on the ground outside the club and didn't have a problem with it, except for weekends.
"Through the week it's not too bad. It's when we've got a sporting thing on and we haven't got the car parking facility there for the sports people and parents to park," he said.
"They're usually on the corner, and now I think since council has cracked up and started to fine them, they're starting to bring them into the car park. I don't agree with that, that shouldn't happen."
Mr Eilola said regardless of fines, people would still do it anyway.
"It happens everywhere I think. There is a few different places around town that have them for sale. If council could have one laid down area, that would alleviate a lot of the problem."