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Canberra’s informal second hand car yards?

By Sideshowmatt123 - 11 October 2011 12

What do RiotACT readers think of the apparently increasing numbers of second-hand cars parked jauntily for sale on the verges of Canberra intersections?

On the one hand, one could say ‘live and let live’, it’s no skin off my nose. One might also be quietly cheered at the thought of used car salesmen (who have an uncanny way of conforming to their sleazy type) gnashing their nicotine-stained teeth at the lost trade. It’s also a bit of a stretch to argue that these daggy clusters of dejected vehicles are an eyesore –  blighting Canberra’s hundreds of kilometres of windswept, bitumen-scored, 80 km/hr no-man’s-land.

On  the other hand, one could see this as the thin end of a wedge of civic irresponsibility – one that widens to make acceptable all kinds of behaviours that impose real public costs, while giving private benefit and convenience.

Of course, most of us probably commit the occasional selfish act that gives us marginal individual benefit at the expense of the common good – speeding when we’re late, dropping our Woollies docket in the carpark etc. But it’s the brazen visual prominence of these informal used car yards, announcing a creeping lowering of standards of civic responsibility in a city, that is distinctive. When several sellers opportunistically gravitate together, forming a mini-Melrose Drive of four or five cars, they tacitly endorse and normalise the practice, multiplying its demonstrative effect. According to this view, casually parking a car for sale on the verge is not too far from furtively dumping boot-loads of household waste outside charity bins.

Is this just liberal hand-wringing? (‘What about the children?’) I’d appreciate comments.

What’s Your opinion?


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12 Responses to
Canberra’s informal second hand car yards?
trickyxr 11:17 am 17 Oct 11

Jethro said :

There’s one at Charnie that often has 9 or 10 cars. I think the guy who lives across the road from the spot is selling them, as he always seems to have about 15 cars in his front yard.

You have got that wrong the bloke across the roads sells his cars out the front of his own house.

Spykler 8:17 pm 12 Oct 11

Jethro said :

There’s one at Charnie that often has 9 or 10 cars. I think the guy who lives across the road from the spot is selling them, as he always seems to have about 15 cars in his front yard.

I am all for this. Why shouldn’t people be able to embrace the mechanisms of the free market? The only worry is that on a busy Saturday morning at the impromptu Charnie car yard on the corner of Florey Drive and Ginninderra Drive somebody is going to park something very exotic or very customised and the rubber-necking will cause the accident rate on that particular day to skyrocket.
Good luck to them I say, on a good day there have been over a dozen cars there, but yes, it’s a wonder they have never copped a yellow envelope in the years I have seen it in operation.

reasonableperson 7:48 pm 12 Oct 11

“one could see this as the thin end of a wedge of civic irresponsibility – one that widens to make acceptable all kinds of behaviours that impose real public costs, while giving private benefit and convenience”

This place is lawless! Everyone is free to do what they want, when they want, how they want! Some embrace it (and do whatever they want), people like you and me just stand around asking “should they be doing that?”

homeone 6:09 pm 11 Oct 11

I’ve lived in Belco since the mid 70’s.

The Latham corner of the Southern Cross / Kingford Smith used to always have one for sale parked there.

Springvale Drive / Coulter Drive intersection has been a popular spot in more recent years.

I don’t see a problem with it as long as they are parked off the road.

MissChief 5:55 pm 11 Oct 11

This isn’t a new thing and happened with great gusto during the last recession. Perhaps it’s a sign of things getting tough again? Providing cars are parked responsibility, I don’t see any harm in this practice.

JazzyJess 4:34 pm 11 Oct 11

You do so at your own risk – case in point, older model lancer for sale in Gungahlin had been sitting there for at least a week until it had the windows smashed in and was swiftly removed. I felt bad for the seller but what can you do.

ConanOfCooma 3:42 pm 11 Oct 11

Considering that this has been happening in other towns and cities since at least 1984 (when I was old enough to start remembering anything), and I witnessed lots of this in Belco in the early 90s (when I lived there), I would say it’s simply an issue of the OP opening their eyes for once and noticing something they didn’t like.

Happens here all the time. It is Canberra, after all.

p1 2:53 pm 11 Oct 11

I stopped to look at a car for sale by an intersection just yesterday.

luther_bendross 2:05 pm 11 Oct 11

All for it, as long as its done (by the seller) with some common sense regarding placement. A number of country towns while I was growing up endorsed these yards, putting up barriers to limit the space. In one town the cops would politely call the owner if they weren’t playing by the rules and that was as far as it went.

Canberra can be a pretty sterile place, little things like this are fine.

Bluey 1:49 pm 11 Oct 11

Ive seen for sale cars with yellow envelopes under their windscreen often enough to not try selling a car that way myself.

Jethro 10:14 am 11 Oct 11

There’s one at Charnie that often has 9 or 10 cars. I think the guy who lives across the road from the spot is selling them, as he always seems to have about 15 cars in his front yard.

ma7trlb 9:45 am 11 Oct 11

i’m all for it, given a few provisos:
1) the car should be parked in an area that allows people to pull safely off the road to conduct a thorough inspection (I’ve noticed a few opposite the servos in Gungahlin – good place to do it)
2) any car should have the price printed large and clearly visible from a moving car. Note that this is what will get people to stop – not your mobile number scrawled in texta.
3) provide as many details as you can on the sign – once people have stopped to look at your car because the price looks appealing, they want to be able to form an opinion on the spot as to whether to call you or not.
4) do include some method of contacting you, unless you’re prepared to take a deckchair and sit next to it all day. Don’t laugh, I’ve seen this with my own eyes – good price, good info, no contacts = no chance of a sale.

there – rant over.

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